The Olympic Swimmer Who Inspired Netflix’s The Swimmers Posts Adorable Viral TikTok Reacting To The Movie

Nathalie Issa as Yusra Mardini in The Swimmers
(Image credit: Netflix)

 Spoilers for Netflix’s The Swimmers ahead. 

The Swimmers, one of Netflix’s 2022 movie releases, tells the incredibly moving and empowering story of the Mardini sisters who were Syrian refugees that ended up heroically swimming a boat for hours to get a group of refugees to Greece. Once they safely make it to Germany, the sisters return to their passion, swimming, and the younger sister, Yusra starts training for the Olympics. Following the film's release on Netflix, Yusra Mardini herself took to TikTok to react to a special scene in the movie, and she had an adorable reaction, causing the video to go viral.

In the TikTok, Yusra Mardini is reacting to the scene in The Swimmers where Nathalie Issa, who plays Yusra, and Manal Issa, who played her sister Sara Mardini, go to a pool in Germany to convince a swim coach to take them on so they can train for the Olympics. Yusra is watching the scene play out with a massive grin on her face, and she has the cutest reaction to the entire scene, check it out: 


♬ original sound - Netflix Philippines

I don’t know about you, but I could feel her joy radiating through the screen as she watched this exciting scene in The Swimmers. In the movie, this moment is pivotal, and I’d assume this was also a major turning point in Yusra's own life as well. 

For some context, this scene comes right after the girls arrive in Germany, after swimming a lifeboat across the sea and walking many, many miles before reaching their final destination. During their journey, Yusra has to put her goals of the Olympics on the back burner because they couldn’t focus on anything but trying to flee Syria. When they finally get to where they planned on going they could take a breath, and put their minds and hearts back on their passions rather than survival, and Yursa immediately went to find a pool. 

This leads Yusra, played by Issa in the film, to the German swim coach Sven Spannerkrebs, played by Matthias Schweighöfer, who you might recognize from the Army of Thieves cast, and she convinces him to take her on as a pupil. When I watched the movie this scene marked the real start of Yusra’s journey to the Rio Olympics, and clearly showed her drive and determination, which is on full display in this film and is incredibly inspiring. 

Clearly, this heroic story on the 2022 movie schedule is resonating with audiences as The Swimmers was on Netflix’s trending list. On top of the film’s success on streaming Yusra’s TikTok has over 11 million views and 1.4 million likes. 

The story does have a happy ending, this life-changing journey, and interaction, along with Yusra’s hard work, landed her a place on the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for 2016 and 2020 games where she competed in the 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle. Along with her athletic accomplishments, she was the youngest-ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2017. 

If you are interested in watching this viral scene, and the Mardini sisters’ inspiring story, be sure to check out The Swimmers with a Netflix subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.