Ukrainian swimmer, 15, hoping war won't sink her Olympic dream

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By Cyril Fourneris  & Rhal Ssan
Natalia, who has dreams to be an Olympic swimmer
Natalia, who has dreams to be an Olympic swimmer   -  Copyright  Cleared

This young swimmer hasn't given up on her dream to represent Ukraine at the Olympics despite having to flee the country after Russia's invasion.

Karolina is now in France, staying with more than 300 other Ukrainian refugees at a hotel near Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. The 15-year-old semi-professional swimmer has managed to find a local pool where she can begin training once again.

Natalia, Karolina's mother, said she thought they would only leave Lviv for a few weeks. It has now been two months since they and she's yet to see her husband.

"My country is at war, I miss Ukraine very much," said Natalia. "My relatives are still there: my husband, my mother, my sister, the rest of my relatives and also a lot of friends... Of course, I am in contact with them, we communicate and ask them how they are. The news is not always comforting, they are mostly living in fear at the moment."

The family's future is still unclear. Karolina, who has started school in France, hopes to resume swimming at a high level in Ukraine, and maybe one day represent her country at the Olympic Games.