"In my case… It was because I was able to see the sky while I was swimming backstroke that I stopped being scared. But starting with backstroke isn’t the normal way to teach someone to swim."
"So what? You should just do it your own way."
"Haru… You’re right. I’ll give it a try!"
"I really love the way you swim, Haruka-senpai. It has nothing to do with theory or calculations. It just makes me feel something very powerful. It made me want to be able to swim that way too. Freely. That’s why I think its fine for you to remain free. Being free can mean very different things, but I think its truest meaning is having a free heart that can’t be bound by anything. So no matter what choice you make, as long as you remain who you are, you will forever be free!”
Can I just say that these words nearly moved me to tears. Rei is someone who can be described as very calculating and straightforward. He’s not the sort of person who does things half-heartedly, and thinks very logically, which is how he chooses to make decisions.
He see’s Haruka at a point in his life where he has to make a very big decision. It’s clear how much Rei admires Haruka’s swimming, and acknowledges his talent. Of course, if Haruka wishes to swim in the future, the logical decision would be to take the scouts offer and swim. At first, Rei seems confused at Haru putting ‘Free’ on his career-path-questionarre. But soon, Rei see’s something beyond that word.
Rei see’s why Haruka swims. Instead of asking him why he refuses the offer or why he hasn’t decided what to do, he advises Haru to just be happy. To Rei, as long as Haru stays the way he is, he will always be ‘Free’. He will always be the Haruka that Rei so admires.