In this episode, Nagisa recruits the calculative Ryugazaki Rei into the Swim Club. But not without some bumps in the road…
RECAP: The Iwatobi Swim Club has been formed, but they still require one more member to actually participate in anything. Nagisa comes across a kouhai student, Ryugazaki Rei, and becomes determined to recruit this Track Team member for his attention to detail and form. At first, Rei adamantly declines every pass, but eventually accepts to check the club out by coming on the joint practice at Samezuka’s indoor pool. It is there that everyone finds out he can’t swim, but he leaves with the ambition to become more “free” like Haru.
It’s still the off-season and the Iwatobi Swim Club can’t necessarily use their outdoor pool in the Spring weather. With that said, even if they want to get into some kind of deal with an indoor pool, the guys still require a fourth member to make a complete team for competition. Haru’s reaction is priceless as he can only think about swimming.
Haru says that he is okay with competitively swimming again and that his race with Rin is all in the past, but we all know that isn’t the case. Yes, we know that Haru just wants to swim in most cases. But I can’t help but think that, when the time comes, something will happen when he faces Rin in a race again. Haru still holds his friendship with Rin very dear, which is why I feel that Haru may subconsciously lose on purpose in the future, just like how he did in episode 02.
After several failed attempts, Nagisa is finally able to convince Rei into joining, albeit as a trial member, the Swim Club. All of his talk about Haru’s beautiful swim form is likely the reason for Rei’s sudden interest in the sport, despite not knowing how to swim. This makes Rei’s character a rather interesting addition to the group. He is calculative and pays a great attention to detail to achieve a “perfect form” in everything he does. As told by the Track Team coach, this personality of his isn’t completely a good thing.
Good form is one thing, but it can also be a restraint. Playing everything by the book and calculating every step of the way keeps you on one set path. But, as Haru puts it, “Freestyle” is not only a swimming style, but a way of life. Okay… so Haru very much likely didn’t mean it that way; he was just correcting Rei. But still, what Rei saw in Haru’s swim was enough to inspire him into reaching that plane of “freedom.”