The Swimmers

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The Swimmers is a 2022 movie about real-life sisters Yusra and Sarah Mardini, Syrian refugees who swam alongside a sinking dinghy full of refugees in the Aegean Sea on their way to the island of Lesbos. Eventually they reached Germany and Yusra went on to swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the Refugee Team.

What does this have to do with feminist fitness? Not much really. I watched the movie with the idea it might be worth reviewing for a blog post. It’s not a bad movie, but not much of a feminist fitness angle.

However, there was some pretty amazing swimming. Yusra Mardini swam butterfly competitively, and there were plenty of sequences showing very fast, efficient butterfly stroke. At every swim practice since I watched the movie I have tried to recreate what I saw on the screen.

Do I look like this?

Nusra Mardini, wearing a white swim cap and pink swim goggles is reaching forward with her arms outstretched in butterfly stroke. She is in bright blue water with water splashing up around her head. Photo was taken at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2022, by AFP.

Not a chance! But for a few moments each length – if I’m lucky – I feel like I look like this, and that’s what matters to me.

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