The Swimmers was released on Netflix on November 23 in India and slowly it is gaining momentum on the OTT giant. Termed as among the top most inspiring stories Netflix has ever delivered, The Swimmers has been directed by Sally El-Hosaini. The film stars Lebanese actress Manal Issa and her real-life sister Nathalie Issa as Sara and Yusra. For those who are yet to watch, The Swimmers is based on how the 'swimming sisters' fled the Syrian civil war in 2015 and helped save the lives of their fellow refugees while doing so. Now, the question arises whether The Swimmers is a true story or The Swimmers is real story or not.

The answer to this question is yes. The Swimmers is a true story based on Syrian sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini—played in the film by real sisters Nathalie and Manal Issa, respectively—who left their conflict-torn country for Europe illegally. Yusra Mardini and her sister Sara were both swimmers, however, it was Yushra who went to participate in the Rio Olympics 2016. Yusra represented the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team and was appointed the youngest-ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in April 2017. To be precise, The Swimmers is an inspiring true story that is not only a sports story but it also shows the homelessness of refugees and the price humans pay for the war.

The Swimmers Story

The Swimmers is about 17-year-old Yusra, who dreams of representing Syria in the Rio Olympics, but is forced to leave the country in 2015 with Sara, who does not possess the same burning ambition in sport, and a cousin Nizar. They fly to Turkey as tourists, take a boat to Greece along with more than a dozen other refugees from places as diverse as Afghanistan and Eritrea in Africa. The inflatable boat, meant for far fewer people, runs into engine trouble in the middle of the ocean and starts filling up with water. Both Yusra and Sara bravely jump into the ocean and swim for three hours in the freezing Aegean Sea so that the boat’s load is reduced till the entire lot hits the Greek shores in Lesbos. This is where the crew walks past the debris of piled up life jackets. They make their way to Germany partly on foot, in a car and on a bus after going through some traumatic experiences that makes them question their decision to leave home.

Ultimately, Yusra went on to participate in the Rio Olympics, however under the refugee banner. In the movie, it has been shown that Yusra was not comfortable representing Refugees team and she wanted to represent Syria, however, due to war she nodded to participate under the EOR flag

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Olympics' official website says that prior to the war in Syria, Yusra was a competitive swimmer who represented her country in international competitions. As the war intensified, Yusra and her sister left Damascus in early August 2015 and reached Berlin in September 2015. Since then, Yusra has been training at the Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 club, which is a partner of the Elite Schools of Sport in Berlin. She was selected to compete at Rio 2016 as part of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team and was appointed the youngest-ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in April 2017. Currently, Yusra is living in Hamburg, Germany. Apart from participating in Rio and being UNHRC goodwill ambassador, she also competed in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo with the Refugee Olympic Team (EOR).

Yusra Mardini in Rio Olympics 2016

For those who have watched the movie and wondering whether Yusra won any medial in the Rio Olympics or not, here's what we know so far-

In the movie we see her finishing first, but does that mean that she won a medal? No, Yusra Mardini did not win a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She participated in the Olympics under the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. Despite her wish to represent her country, Syria, she could not get that opportunity due to the war-torn state of the country. In her first appearance in the Olympics, she made an impression by winning the 100-meter butterfly heat, which is what we see her winning in the movie. She finished it in 1:09.21, which was a personal improvement for her, but it wasn’t enough to get her to the semifinals, which only has the top 16 swimmers battling it out for the finals. Mardini also swam 100-m freestyle but did not win her heat.

It is pertinent to mention here that True Scoop News salute Yusra Mardini and for fans who love real-life story then The Swimmers is a must-watch.

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