Plot of the movie The Swimmers
The Swimmers follows two sisters trying to fulfill their dream in war-torn Syria. Yusra dreams of becoming an Olympic gold medalist, but her swimming is shattered when the country is attacked.
After facing death, Sarah and Yusra’s father agrees to send them to Germany in search of asylum and salvation. With Nizra as their guide and confidant, the two girls set out across the dangerous seas, trusting shady human traffickers in hopes of reaching Germany.
For those who have come this far, the real fight for freedom begins as each of these refugees tries to start a new life for themselves. Of course, this means that Yusra will return to swimming and try to succeed. But isn’t that too far for her?
Will the sisters get to Germany?
Sarah and Yusra eventually DO make it to Germany. They decide not to get into the same truck as the other refugees they traveled with, thanks to a dubious man trying to rape Yusra shortly before. As a result, Sarah, Yusra, and Nizar will try their luck by going with other refugees to Germany, having previously seen reports of it on the news.
After spending that night at the hotel and spending the last of the girls’ money on it, Nizar delivers some exciting news. He managed to get them on a bus to Berlin and they don’t even need tickets! Although the girls are dubious, especially after being scammed by a truck driver at the beginning of the film, they still make their way and end up in Germany.
Is Yusra in the Olympics?
Yusra’s dream of becoming an Olympic swimming champion only gets stronger when the girls register at the refugee center. While Sarah focuses more on helping others, especially with news of increased bombing in Syria, Yusra is focusing instead on her voyage.
By chance, Yusra finds a swimming club and approaches Coach Sven. Impressing Sven with his time, Yusra trains hard to be part of the refugee Olympic team. Although she was initially hesitant to become an Olympian, people will “sympathize”, Sarah and Nizar’s inspiring words help her take the plunge.
Yusra heads to Rio, where she overhears other athletes lamenting her lack of effort and being just there for a gesture of sympathy, unaware of Yusra’s heroic swimming efforts earlier in the film. However, Yusra soon shuts up the doubters by outdoing everyone else and winning her.
How did The Swimmers end?
However, Nizar’s story is less touching. He realizes that he is stuck in an eternal hell. He cannot get a job without a work permit, and the only way to get one is to sit and wait at the refugee center. Basically, he’s a bird in a cage, and when we leave things, it’s not clear if the door will open for him.
As for Sarah and Yusra, they get back together after the swim: the former decides to help other refugees, while Yusra continues to work towards her Olympic dream. The couple run into the water as the sun begins to set and start laughing together.
This water is incredibly symbolic considering the last time we saw them in the water by the sea was after they landed in a rubber boat. Instead of anger and fear chopping the boat with a knife, the girls finally found peace.
What is the real story? What really happened?
The European migrant crisis is well documented online, including this comprehensive timeline on our sister site.
Yusra currently lives in Hamburg, Germany. She was part of the refugee Olympic team and beat four other women at the Rio Olympics. Fortunately, Yusra and Sarah’s parents managed to escape from Syria and live with her. She continues to excel at swimming and is an inspiration and voice for refugees around the world.
Meanwhile, Sarah has been working to rescue refugees on Lesvos. She was charged with smuggling along with several other colleagues in 2018 and could face 20 years in prison if found guilty.
The film ends on a sobering note. Since 2011, 5.7 million Syrians have become refugees. There are over 30 million refugees in the world, and half of them are under 18 years of age.
Read more: Review of the film “Swimmers”