|A Swim-Off in a Foreign Land!|
|Rōmaji||Ikyou no Suimofu!|
|Air Date||September 17, 2014|
|Animation Director||Rie Sezaki|
|Opening||Dried Up Youthful Fame|
|← Episode 23||Episode 25 →|
A Swim-Off in a Foreign Land! (異郷のスイムオフ！ Ikyou no Suimofu!) is the twelfth episode of season two of the Free! anime and the twenty-fourth episode of the overall series. It aired on September 17, 2014.
Upon arriving in Australia, Rin Matsuoka takes Haruka Nanase to a park, and they sit at the edge of a fountain to rest for a while. Whilst they pause, Rin goes off to buy two bottles of water for them, and Haru, who is inexperienced in an unfamiliar country, panics, as he thinks that he has lost the other. However, Rin is standing behind him with the drinks, and Haru tells him not to run off like that. Here, Rin apologizes for wandering off and confesses that he has always admired Haru, shocking the latter.
Their next destination is the beach, where Haru refuses to go into the water and sits a little way away. Rin comments on this, and assumes correctly that it's to do with the others back home, to which he says that he and Sosuke Yamazaki fight all the time. He talks about his experiences in the country before Haru stops him, and they leave to meet Rin's homestay parents, Russell and Lori.
Lori remarks that Haru has a 'cool attitude' and 'eyes as clear as water', like Rin had supposedly said. She says to Haru that Rin used to talk about him a lot, and, when Haru doesn't understand the English, he asks Rin to translate it for him. At first, he tells Haru that it doesn't matter, before giving in and admitting sheepishly that he talked about Haru. Russell then informs Rin that he and Lori knew about how Rin went through a phase of depression as a child.
Checking into their hotel, the pair find out that they have to share a double bed for the night. This is increasingly awkward, and Rin immediately blames Haru for the situation because of his 'girly name', until they end up arguing. Rin storms off to the hotel's attendant, who says that she can't do anything about it; they end up sleeping in the same bed much to Rin's chagrin, facing away from each other. For a while, there is uncomfortable tension and silence, until Rin plucks up the courage to murmur to Haru. They manage to get through the night by reminiscing about their time together, which affects Haru particularly.
The next day, they get on a short train journey to the place that Rin wants to show Haru, and they watch their reflections in the train's window. Rin takes him to the Aquatic Centre where the best swimmers in the world are gathered. Here, they prepare to swim, stood next to each other.
They are on a balcony when Rin tells Haru that he wants to approach his old coach about joining his team. Haru is silent for a moment, which causes Rin to look at him. He states that he has also found a dream of his own, with Rin's help, and they look out over Sydney Opera House as it darkens.
List of characters in order of appearance: