Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – Episode 7

Free! Episode 6 | Saru Anime

This is it- the regional tournament everyone has been waiting for. This week’s episode holds the promise of at least one intense swim match for the Iwatobi team. How will the cast do under pressure? Will Rin get the rematch he’s been itching for? Let’s see for ourselves.

Plot Summary:

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

The episode opens up with the Iwatobi team on the last leg of their training regimen. It’s the day before the regional tournament, and everyone seems excited and eager to proceed. Gou even suggests finding a proper coach to give the team an extra boost, despite the time crunch- but Haru shoots that down. It’s obvious to the rest of the team that he’s completely focused on his goal: a rematch against Rin at regionals.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

Meanwhile, Rin is dealing with the upcoming face-off on his own terms. The wait for the upcoming rematch is taking a toll on him, even giving him nightmares featuring Haruka. Someone else makes an appearance in Rin’s dreams too- his father, still a child. Viewers will recognize him from a photo that appeared earlier on in the series of a former Iwatobi swim club.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

The fact that something is up with Rin doesn’t slip past Nitori, Rin’s roommate and fellow member of the swim team. Nitori corners Rin during practice, wanting to know why Rin is participating in the 100 m free event, as it’s not his strongest area. Rin tries to avoid the question, but Nitori doesn’t need his confirmation to know the truth: that Rin only signed up for the freestyle competition because Haruka would be there. Later that night after practice, Nitori brings regionals up again. He doesn’t understand Rin’s obsession with participating in the free event just to swim with Haru.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

It turns out that Rin’s father was a talented swimmer when he was a child. Also like Rin, he had big dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. But that dream never became a reality. Instead, Rin’s father got married, started a family, and became a fisherman before losing his life in a typhoon- presumably the same typhoon that Makoto mentioned in episode 6. Now Rin has taken it upon himself to fulfill the dream his father never could. But he can’t really proceed until he’s done one thing: defeat Haru. Nitori finally seems to understand why Rin is going to such lengths for the upcoming rematch against Haruka.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

The day of the competition opens with the Iwatobi team meeting up together and Rin visiting his father’s grave alone. The first event will be the freestyle competition. Rin and Haru are in neighboring lanes, and the tension is high as they come back together for the rematch they have both been training hard for. The whistle blows, they both dive in- and it’s a very close race. But in the end, it’s Rin who pulls ahead and wins. Haru has not even qualified to move on to the next round.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

At the end of the race, Rin gets out of the pool and looks down at Haru with only one thing to say: it’s the last time Rin ever intends to swim with him.

Thoughts:

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

I’m not usually one that gets very into sports, but that race was definitely intense! There really was no obvious winner from the beginning, and they even teased us a little near the end by letting Haruka almost catch up. The end of that race is a bittersweet moment, as we’ve seen Rin struggle with his need to defeat Haruka in a fair race for the entire episode. On the other hand, his parting words to Haruka are harsh and signals a complete end to whatever was left of their friendship. Ouch.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

There hasn’t been a lot of time devoted to Rin in the past few episodes. so it was nice that we got to know more about him in episode 7. All of the backstory regarding his father really puts into perspective his drive to defeat Haru, and his heartbreak at losing their initial match when he first visited Japan from Australia. It’s not just pride that drives him; he also feels responsible for fulfilling his father’s dream on top of it.

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

One of the best things about this episode overall was the way it compares and contrasts Rin’s preparation and the Iwatobi team’s preparation for the competition. Over at Iwatobi, the team is mostly hopeful about regionals and spend their time preparing for it together, looking at photos from their island training and going to a local shrine together. Rin, on the other hand, distances himself from the rest of his own team and can only really focus on winning against Haruka. Even though he won the rematch, this episode made it clear that he lacks the strong bonds that everyone on the Iwatobi team has with one another. Nitori is the closest thing he has to a friend and Rin still constantly keeps him at a distance.

The Verdict:

Free! Episode 7 | Saru Anime

This was one of my favorite episodes of the series so far. With Rin and the swim team coming together again in the heat of a competition, all of the issues that have been building up throughout past episodes are finally being brought to the forefront. I’m expecting the next episode will focus a lot on the bonds between the main cast, including Rin, and I’m very excited to see the results.

All screenshots courtesy of Crunchyroll. Episode 7 is available to stream there now for those with an Anime Membership.

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