Saturday Night Social: Hosted By This Tough-As-Nails Olympic Swimmer Who Saved a Boat Full Of Refugees

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

One year ago, Yusra Mardini saved a boat filled with Syrian refugees—herself among them—in the Mediterranean Sea by diving into the water and helping to push the stalled, overcrowded watercraft to shore. Now, the 18-year-old swimmer is competing in Rio on the Olympic Refugee Team.


Though Mardini placed first in her heat in the 100-meter butterfly on Saturday, her time wasn’t fast enough to advance her to the semifinals. That’s OK, though—she’ll have another shot on Wednesday, when she competes in the 100-meter women’s freestyle.

This is far from Mardini’s first major competition: In 2012 at the age of 14, she swam for her country’s short-course world championships, though war-torn Syria became an increasingly impossible place not only to train, but to live. Last year, she and her sister fled the country to what they hoped would be a better life outside of Syria’s violence-plagued borders.

Mardini now lives in Germany, where she trains at one of the oldest swim clubs in Berlin, built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics. Her odds of qualifying might be a long shot—she’d need to improve her fastest time by 11 seconds to advance in the freestyle competition—but she told the New York Times earlier this week that she’s striving for a “personal best.”

The point is, if Mardini can save a dozen lives and qualify for the Olympics and maintain a positive attitude, the least I can do is scrape myself away from this computer and go for a slow, plodding evening jog before the sun goes down. Happy Saturday, everyone!


Hi, all! It’s solo wine and pizza night here... trying to make it into a fun relaxing treat instead of feeling lonely and annoyed that all my friends are out of town/busy with their SOs tonight.

BUT tomorrow I’m going to the beach for the first time all summer! AND and and I just got a Kindle, and figured out how to load library books on it! I know the SNS crowd is not only warm, caring, and witty, but also well-read... so please recommend some beach reads? I’m open to pretty much anything — “highbrow” literature, Gone Girl-style thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy, memoirs, true crime... I feel like I’m always missing out on all the books people are talking about because I’m pretty much always working, so help would be appreciated! (For bonus points — would love some suggestions written by women!)