Olympic Refugee Team swimmer Yusra Mardini wins heat but fails to qualify for semi-finals

Yusra Mardini competes in the 100 metres butterfly. Credit: Reuters

She may not have won a medal, but Olympic Refugee Team swimmer Yusra Mardini's experience in the pool was "amazing", she has said.

The 18-year-old was the first of the 10-strong refugee team to compete in Rio, and although she won her heat in the 100 metres butterfly, her time of one minute and 9.21 seconds was not enough to earn her a spot in the top 16 and qualify for the semi-finals.

Mardini did not let her failure to qualify disappoint her, instead saying she was "pleased" with her performance after getting back into swimming training.

Members of the Refugee Olympic Team, including Yusra Mardini (centre front). Credit: Reuters

Less than a year ago Mardini and her sister Sarah risked their lives by pushing a boat of migrants they were travelling in to safety after it began to sink in the Aegean Sea.

The pair fled Damascus when civil war broke out in Syria. They passed through Lebanon and Turkey before their treacherous crossing by dingy to the Greek island of Lesbos.

During the crossing the boat's motor broke, leaving them stranded.

The sisters and another woman jumped into the water and took turns kicking and pulling the boat for three-and-a-half hours before they reached safety.

Mardini was given asylum in Berlin where her swimming talents were spotted and that led to her achievements in the Aquatics Stadium.

Yusra Mardini in training. Credit: PA

Mardini's Olympic dream is not over as she will take part in the 100m freestyle on Wednesday, and already has her sights set on Tokyo 2020.