Free! starts with four boys—Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin—before graduating from elementary school. They had all participated in a swimming tournament and gained victory but later parted ways. Years later, Haruka, Makoto and Nagisa reunite when they enroll into high school. Not long after, Rin, who was thought to be in Australia, turns up and challenges Haruka to a race and wins. Afterward, Nagisa mentions creating a swimming club and cleaning up the run-down outdoor pool to use. Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and, later on, Rei, form the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club and work together in making the club a success. Rin's victory over Haruka means nothing to him as he realizes that Haruka has stopped swimming competitively and is not in top shape. He claims that he cannot get over the fact until Haruka competes against him for real. The members of the revived Iwatobi Swim Club later enter a swimming competition against Rin.