'The Swimmers' Tells the Story of Yusra and Sara Mardini — Where Are They Now?

Following the release of Netflix's biographical film 'The Swimmers,' many viewers are curious to know where Yusra and Sara Mardini are now.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Nov. 29 2022, Published 3:55 p.m. ET

(L-R) Sara Mardini and Yusra Mardini
Source: Getty Images

(L-R) Sara Mardini and Yusra Mardini

For those unaware, Netflix recently released a new biographical film that tells the inspiring true story of sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini. In 2015, the two embarked on a harrowing journey when they fled Syria alongside several other migrants; the siblings planned to be smuggled into Greece by boat, but once the dinghy began crumbling, they jumped in the water, dragged the vessel across the Aegean Sea, and ended up in Germany.

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Now, seven years after they successfully relocated, Yusra and Sara's incredible story is at the center of The Swimmers. The drama explores how, upon arrival in Germany, the sisters lived in a refugee center and spent their days at a local swim club. From there, Yusra competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.

As their journey garners renewed interest, many are curious to know: Where are Yusra and Sara Mardini now?

(L-R) Yusra Mardini and Sara Mardini onstage during the 2016 Bambi Awards.

(L-R) Yusra Mardini and Sara Mardini onstage during the 2016 Bambi Awards.

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So, where are Yusra and Sara Mardini now?

Following her stint at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Yusra went on the represent the Refugee Olympic Team again at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Not only did the talented swimmer compete in the women's 100-meter butterfly race, but she led the charge by carrying the flag of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team during the open ceremony.

As of today, the 24-year-old refugee lives in Berlin; however, on Oct. 15, 2022, she announced via Instagram that she is currently attending the University of Southern California as a film and television production major.

"I'm interested in fashion, acting, and the entertainment world. Those are my ambitions for now, but they change very quickly to be honest," Yusra told The Guardian in October 2022. She added that refugee rights are still important to her, noting that she will "always work for refugees because I will always be one."

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(L-R) Manal Issa as Sara Mardini and Nathalie Issa as Yusra Mardini in 'The Swimmers'
Source: Netflix

(L-R) Manal Issa as Sara Mardini and Nathalie Issa as Yusra Mardini in 'The Swimmers'

Although Sara enjoyed swimming just as much as Yusra, she gave it up once she got to Germany — wait, why? According to The Guardian, she was forced to quit due to a shoulder injury and "physical and emotional pain." Sara managed to keep a low profile for a bit, but in 2018, she was arrested while advocating for refugees in Lesbos, Greece.

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The outlet noted Sara was held in jail for "more than three months" on charges including "spying, smuggling and belonging to a criminal organization — charges Amnesty International has described as 'trumped up' and 'farcical.'" Sara still faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

'The Swimmers' documents an inspiring true story.

Ahead of the film's long-awaited release, writer-director Sally El Hosaini spoke with Forbes and revealed that, for the most part, The Swimmers stays true to the actual events, thanks to Yusra and Sara's involvement in the making of the movie.

"Yusra and Sara were involved in the making of the film from the very beginning," Sally told the outlet. "A lot of research was conducted with Yusra and Sara’s family."

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Sally added, "Predominantly we stuck to the truth, but there were times when fictionalizations were made — but they were always made to allow us to honor the larger refugee story rather than just the story of Yusra and Sara."

"As inspirational as Yusra and Sara’s story is — they are the 1 percent — and we also wanted to represent the 99 percent of refugees that don’t have that happy ending or that outcome," she concluded.

The Swimmers is now available to stream on Netflix.

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