Netflix’s biographical film ‘The Swimmers’ revolves around the inspiring saga of Sara Mardini and Yusra Mardini, two Syrian sisters who dream of participating in the Olympics. When the Syrian civil war unsettles their lives in their country, the two swimmers decide to leave for Germany to build a new life and open a gateway for the rest of their family to settle in Europe, away from the war.
Midway through Sara and Yusra’s journey, they meet Emad, who is also trying to end up in Germany from Afghanistan. During and after their journey, Sara builds a bond with Emad. Since the film is based on a true story, the viewers must be wondering whether the two of them had united in reality. Well, here’s what we can share about the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Did Sara and Emad Really End Up Together?
In the film, Sara meets Emad for the first time while she waits for the boat that takes them to Lesbos, a Greek island from where Sara and Yusra travel to Germany. After arriving in Lesbos and while traveling to Hungary, Emad and Sara get to know each other more. After crossing the border, a man associated with the smugglers arranges a truck for the refugees to escape from the authorities, only for Yusra to decide against getting into it. Since Sara cannot abandon her sister, she stays with Yusra and bids an emotional farewell to Emad. Still, they meet again after the sisters end up in Germany.
Whenever Sara is with Emad, she cherishes a close connection with him. However, it isn’t explicit whether it has grown to become a romantic togetherness. Even if it has, in the film, there isn’t any clear indication that they end up together. After meeting Emad in Germany, Sara expresses her concerns about the refugees who are trying to make it to Europe. Rather than sharing the concern with her, Emad tries to deviate from the topic by proposing eating ice cream, sold by someone from Sara’s native Damascus.
As far as the narrative of the film is concerned, Sara and Emad may haven’t ended up together, especially since Sara decides to return to Lesbos to help the refugees. Sara never mentions Emad accompanying her to Yusra, indicating that Sara’s decision may have made him part ways with her. Emad must have arrived in Germany with a lot of expectations and the plan to return to the very place he somehow escaped from may haven’t been appealing to him.
In reality, nobody with the name Emad had traveled with Sara and Yusra from Istanbul to Lesbos. Yusra’s autobiography, titled ‘Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian – My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph,’ doesn’t mention any Emad who traveled with the sisters. Since Sara seemingly hasn’t talked about any such person in any interviews or public forums, it is safe to assume that the character is fictional. In the film, Emad is the one who jumps into the sea when their dinghy starts to sink. In reality, a man named Muhannad joined Yusra and Sara to swim for their little boat to be stable.
Like Emad, Muhannad also got back into the dinghy soon since he wasn’t a professional swimmer. As the film character aspires to reach Germany, Muhannad’s destination also was Germany. However, Sara and Muhannad didn’t form any sort of special connection while they try to end up in Germany. Although Emad is from Afghanistan, Muhannad grew up in Syria, in the same neighborhood where the two sisters lived. He was even an old friend of Yusra and Sara’s father Ezzat Mardini. After parting ways, as of the time of the publication of Yusra’s autobiography, the sisters hadn’t met Muhannad again but their father informed them that he ended up in Germany as well.
Since Sara has chosen to keep her personal life private, it isn’t sure whether she was or is in a relationship. As the film depicts, she returned to Lesbos after the 2016 Rio Olympics to help the refugees who end up on the shore, seeking a better life in Europe.