So i just wanted to take a moment to really appreciate these scenes.
Makoto, as we all know by now, has always had a fear of water. Though the anime didn’t go as far into it as the novel did in explaining it, we can all understand that he’s scared, which is the reason why he swims backstroke. But swimming with his friends helps him to get over that. He isn’t as afraid because he has fun doing these things with his friends. He can be at peace in the water because he has his friends with him.
Nagisa, I feel like, got the short end of the stick in the anime since he didn’t get much of his backstory, did he? But he always wanted to swim with his friends, not to be left behind. And this scene really hit home with me because he got to swim with his friends again, they were a group again. Happy.
Rin. What can i even say about this guy? He was so focused on becoming an olympic swimmer that he kind of missed the bigger picture. He was too focused on being the best and always winning. In this medley he sees that he’s had what he’s truly wanted all along, friends to swim with. he found a new dream to pursue, one that was his own.
Haruka. He always insisted that he only swam freestyle. It seemed like he didn’t need anything else other than water to keep him happy. Like…it was his safety blanket. But his friends are becoming that for him now. They have become his pillars of support. He willingly swims out of that place he’s kept himself in to meet them. I wish i could phrase this better.
Rei. This guy. This guy. This precious person. He worked so hard to become a useful member of the team despite initially being dragged on and reluctant to have anything to do with the swim team. He wanted to swim with the best team. He voluntarily gave up his spot to swim with his team, so that his team could be happy. And he was happy for them. He didn’t need to feel like he wasn’t a part of the team even if they always spoke about “Rin-chan” because he knew that they considered him an irreplaceable part of the team as well.
TL;DR: FRIENDSHIP MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND