— Rei Ryugazaki.
|Also known as|| Rei-chan (by Nagisa)|
Speedo Glasses (by Rin)
Big Brother Butterfly (by Ren and Ran) 
17 (Dive to the Future)
|Height|| 177 cm (5'10") (Free!)|
179 cm (5'10") (Dive to the Future)
|Weight||65 kg (143 lb)|
|Occupation||3rd year High School Student|
|Affiliation|| Iwatobi High School|
Junior High School (former)
Elementary School (former)
|Function|| Captain - Iwatobi High School Swim Club, Track and Field Club (former)|
|Swim Style|| Butterfly (specialty)|
|Events|| 100m butterfly|
4x100m medley relay
|Japanese|| Daisuke Hirakawa|
Yoko Hikasa (child)
|English||J. Michael Tatum|
Rei Ryugazaki (竜ヶ崎 怜 Ryūgazaki Rei) is one of the main characters of the anime series Free! He is a butterfly swimmer and a 3rd-year high school student at Iwatobi High School. Rei is a former member of the track team of Iwatobi High School before being recruited by Nagisa for the Swim Club. After Haru and Makoto graduated, he became the new captain of the swim club.
Rei is a muscular young man with short, dark blue hair and purple eyes. He wears red-framed glasses because he is near-sighted. His fall and winter school uniform consists of light brown trousers, a white shirt with red necktie, a dark gray unbuttoned blazer, and black-and-white sneakers. During the spring and summer, his summer uniform consists of gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark gray collar, red dotted necktie and black-and-white sneakers. His uniform as a 3rd-year would change only in the color of his necktie being green. While swimming, he wears black, long-legged swimskins with a blue pattern. The most developed muscles of his form are his tricep and abdominal muscles (upper arms and abdomen).
Rei is an intelligent and logical individual with a penchant for beautiful things, the thought of exuding anything but beauty through his actions causing him to dramatically lose his cool. He is also quite comical when he lets his self-doubt get the better of him. He is, however, a hard working and determined individual, as seen in his relentless drive when learning to swim despite several failed attempts.
Rei has a theoretical approach when it comes to sports, as he usually calculates distance, angle, and other factors in his mind before actually making an attempt. Because of his rigid nature, he has a tendency to overlook the fun and enjoyment that comes with the activity. As Haruka told Rei, he needed to be "free" in order to swim properly, because he is constantly calculating and underestimating the water.
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- Main article: Rei Ryugazaki/Story
- Main article: Rei Ryugazaki/Relationships
- Main article: Rei Ryugazaki/Music
Creation and Conception
Hiroko Utsumi said in one of the interviews that Rei initially felt cool like Haruka did, but as soon as he opened his mouth and started to frolic, that similarity ended immediately. She added that he was the type of person girls would complain, “he looks so cool, but it’s such a shame he had to open his mouth…”. He’s said to be a quibbler in the theory side of things, but have a problem in the heart of things. His face immediately expresses whatever he feels, so he’s easy to read. He loves beautiful things, so his appreciation of beauty is very high. His sense of beauty overdoes it to the point where he always tucks his shirt in. Utsumi said to look closely and you will see he does everything properly, even ensuring the straps on his backpack are perfectly tight around his uniform.
- Like all members of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club, Rei has a female name.
- During a field trip in fifth grade, Rei accidentally left his underwear in the bath.
- Rei is the only member of the Iwatobi Swimming Club that has his body hair shaved (done by Nagisa).
- Rin described Rei's stroke pathetic.
- Rei owns a black and white mobile phone.
- Rei likes eating sushi.
- Rei likes reading, running, calculating and pole-vaulting.
- Rei's best subjects are Math and Chemistry, while he's bad at Art and Music.
- According to Rin, Rei has horrible English pronunciation.
- According to Rei, the Ryugazaki family has been pairing melon bread with barley tea since his grandfather's time.
- His motif animal is a butterfly.
- Rei's animal is unique compared to the other characters' as his is the only non-aquatic animal. This is commonly interpreted to be due to the fact he was not originally a swimmer and that butterflies change "paths" during their lifetime.
- He suffers from motion sickness.