RebelCairo x Egypt's Olympic Artistic Swimming Team

RebelCairo tells a moving story of nine girls who left everything behind to achieve their shared dream: becoming Olympians.

All photos by Salah Hassan

Led by head coach Anastasyia Chepak and coach Nour El Afandi, the Olympic Artistic Swimming team is the epitome of discipline, team work, persistence, dedication, and fight. This team along with their coaches had to endure countless unexpected events on their journey to become Olympic athletes and coaches. Their lifelong dream of becoming Olympians was almost taken away from them one year ago because of a global pandemic.

None of them quit after hearing the news. Instead, they pulled closer together and used this extra year to prepare better.

We saw the true spirit of the word "rebel" in each of these girls. Each one of them defied circumstances, limitations, and downfalls to get closer to her dream.

Our collaboration consisted of designing sportswear for the team and working on a short film directed by film-maker Aly Soliman to show viewers what it takes to be a professional athlete in Egypt.

We sat down with Aly to ask him about his experience working with the team.

Aly, tell me why you wanted to tell this team's story.

I believed people had to know what the members of this team go through on the daily. Moreover, the Olympic games were delayed one year because of COVID-19 and that was a great challenge for the team. Enduring one week of this crazy training schedule is no easy mental or physical job. This is the backstory that I wanted people to see because people only see the last step of these athletes' journey on TV and judge based on that.

How was filming like? Fill us in on the BTS.

The filming schedule was basically set around the team's training schedule. We were present from start to finish. We intentionally chose to have no strict script for the film so there were no specific shots that had to be taken after which we could leave. Any moment, something interesting could happen so I had to be there to film it. Also, filming underwater with limited equipment was intense. We couldn’t rent diving oxygen tanks so I almost ran out of breathe trying to keep up with the team underwater each day.

What surprised you the most accompanying the team closely everyday?