High Speed! 2: Chapter 12 – Accelerate

The clear sky spread endlessly. It’s always like that when they come to the Hiyori Swimming Stadium. It was always sunny. He thinks it’s better when it’s sunny.


Makoto stretches, facing towards the cloudless sky.

“It’s good that the weather’s nice today, too, isn’t it? Haru.”

On sunny days, Makoto’s voice is cheerful. An even more cheerful voice comes running at full speed from the path lined with plane trees.


Grabbing Haruka’s jersey with the force he came running with, he uses it as a brake and stops.

“Haru-chan, Mako-chan. Morning!”

“You came, Nagisa.”

Makoto’s happy voice bounces all the more cheerfully.

“’Cuz I promised. Right, Haru-chan?”

“Uh huh.”

He forgot what kind of promise it is.

“So today, we’ll all cheer a lot for you.”

Nagisa’s companions are lightly bowing their heads from beneath the plane trees. Seeing as they’re carrying their swimming club bags, it seems that they intend on going to practice after cheering.

“Uh huh.”

“So, come and cheer when it’s my time again, okay?”

Haruka looks at Makoto. Still smiling, he was nodding to Haruka. It means he’s telling Haruka to reply himself. Perhaps because it can’t be helped, he gives up.

“……Uh huh.”

A reply that’s a bit on the small side.

“See ya later. Good luck!”

While waving his hand, Nagisa went running back to where his new companions are.

“Looks like Nagisa has entirely gotten familiar with them, huh?”

“Uh huh.”

While looking at Nagisa blending in with his companions, Haruka and Makoto started to walk again.

“Haru, were you worried?”

“About Nagisa?”

He had recently realized that just worrying about Nagisa is a waste.

“That’s the kind of face you were making.”

“I did?”

He’s the kind of guy who puts mayonnaise on stewed squid.

“At heart, you’re relieved, aren’t you?”

“Certainly not.”

He had already forgotten Nagisa’s face from when he decided to join the swim club and had shaken him off.

“You can’t show an uncool side, huh.”

Makoto’s relaxed voice is tinged with power.

“––Uh huh.”

Haruka quietly emitted energy from his body.


Sousuke was standing in front of the locker room, leaning his back against the wall. Folding his long arms like he’s finding them to be slightly unmanageable, he’s slightly smiling.


His gaze was fastened onto Haruka. Makoto looks at Haruka. It means he’s telling Haruka to reply.

“Uh huh.”

Reluctantly just giving a reply, he passes by in front of him.

“To Rin––”

It seems that he won’t let them get away with passing by. Stopping, he looks up at Sousuke’s face.

“I wrote a letter. About the competition.”

“So what?”

“That Nanase’s not a big deal.”

“And then?”

“A reply came from Rin.”

“What was it?”

“He said not to make light of you so much.”

“Then, you shouldn’t. We––”

Haruka’s gaze becomes a strong energy and pierces through Sousuke. Sweating only a single drop, Sousuke withstands it.

“Today, it’s the 100 free and medley relay for me. For Nanase?”

“The 50 and 100 free. Also, the relay and medley relay.”

“Don’t completely exhaust yourself again.”

“The start?”

“I’ve made it my own.”

“Alright then.”

Haruka cautiously removed his gaze from Sousuke and went inside the locker room. Makoto follows after Haruka while saying ‘see you later’. His heartbeat is awfully agitated. He can’t restrain the thing squirming deep in his body. When he thinks that perhaps Sousuke had stirred him up, there was vexation as well, but he thought that it also resembles the exhilarating feeling after he swims with full force. It seems like it won’t calm down for a while.

“You’re slooow, Haru!”

Asahi’s voices echoes through the locker room. Embarrassed, he started wanting to pretend that they were strangers.

“Over here, over here.”

Ikuya beckons to Haruka and Makoto.

He thinks they’re probably allowed to use any part of the locker room, but since there’s no end to people losing their keys and such, it was decided that Iwatobi Middle will group together to use them. He’s heard that Nao as manager will keep the keys altogether. Having arrived in advance, the first years are saving places.

Perhaps because he had arrived very early, Asahi had already completely finished changing, he even has his goggles equipped. Sakuyuki came to visit that Asahi.

“You’re pretty early. Asahi.”

“Y-y-you’re Sakuyuki! You, what the heck did you come here for. Ahha, then you’re doing recon, huh!”

Why is he saying theatrical lines? Even Sakuyuki bursts into laughter.

“Don’t laugh, if you got business with me, hurry up and say it.”

Told by Asahi, Sakuyuki holds back his laughter.

“Nah, it’s not so much as business, I was just wondering what Asahi’s swimming.”

His face is still relaxed.

“Tch. The 200 free, the relay and the medley relay’s fly.”

After clicking his tongue, Asahi unwillingly answers.

“Wow. So you’ve become able to swim the free.”

“Oh shut up. If you’re done, go away.”

“I’m doing the 100 and 200 fly. And the medley relay’s fly.”

“What about the free?”

“If I knew Asahi was going to swim, I would’ve entered.”

“Like I said, my specialty’s always been the free. The fly’s a bonus. If Sakuyuki’s my opponent, then it’s just perfect with the bonus.”

“I’m looking forward to it. See ya.”

Even after Sakuyuki’s figure had disappeared to the other side of the locker room, Asahi didn’t remove his gaze for a while. If he has his goggles on, could he see Sakuyuki through the lockers? As he’s looking at Asahi, it started to seem possible for him to be under such an illusion.


The participating swimmers gathered on the poolside and there was an explanation of the competition order after a simple opening ceremony. Apparently, the competition will proceed in the manner of separating the boys and girls in each grade and finishing all the events, then changing to the next group. By doing it that way, they can substantially save the time and trouble it takes for them to convene. In other words, there are six groups in total.

In order from the shortest, they swim the free, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly, but the free has four events and the others have two each, so they swim the 50m and 100m free consecutively and the individual medley comes in between the 400m and 1500m free. It seems that the free relay and medley relay follows after them.

For each event, there’s just one time trial, so there are no preliminaries or finals. Anyhow, the ranking is determined just by their times. Since the matches with many participants are divided into heats, not all swimmers compete directly as a result.

The opening ceremony having ended, cheering broke out all at once from the spectator stands when the swimmers began to leave. Among them, they can hear the voice of ‘Iwatobi’ noticeably louder.

“Haru, look.”

Told by Makoto, he looks up at the spectator stands while walking. ––Shouta was there. Standing at the head of Iwatobi Middle’s cheering squad, he’s raising a loud voice.

“Shouta volunteered as the cheering squad leader.”

Before they knew it, Nao was walking alongside them. As always, he carries himself like a cat. The managers also lined up for the opening ceremony and the closing ceremony.

“Since he caused trouble for everyone, he asked to let him be the cheering squad leader at least.”

Near Shouta, Kisumi and Tomo are also there. Nagisa and the others were there as well, a little bit farther away.

“When Shouta was summoned by the school, they also called Natsuya. Apparently, talk of suspending club activities and prohibition from external matches came up, too.”

He involuntarily looks at Nao. It’s the first time he hears about this.

“Natsuya refused to back down, saying that it’s his responsibility. That he doesn’t care if he has to leave the club, to at least spare the swim club.”

He had no idea at all that it became such a serious matter. He looks at Makoto. Makoto was shaking his head, too.

“It seems that Shouta apologized while crying all along, and it was decided that just this time, they’ll overlook it. With Shouta’s ‘ban from club activities for three days’ and ‘suspension from the next tournament’, of course.”


Makoto murmurs with a worried voice. He’s concerned about Haruka. That after hearing this, Haruka might take it to heart that it’s his fault.

Haruka stops and looks at Nao. Nao stopped as well and looked at Haruka. He slowly shifts that gaze to Shouta. Putting a megaphone to his mouth, he was chanting in a loud voice.

<<Of Iwatobi where we gather Oh passionate youths    Your adolescence that only comes once                Color it with splashes>>

It’s the Iwatobi Middle Swim Club cheering song.

<<Wild breaths Untiring training               Let the power of believing fill you>>

He’s heard that the successive generations of senpais created it bit by bit.

<<Make your blood boil                                Make your roars thunder             Now is the time to show your true worth>>

That adding to it bit by bit, it was completed while being revised……

<<Aah   The heart of swimming is in the little things>>

Nao returns his gaze from Shouta to Haruka.

“Shouta is trying to do what he must do, what only he can do. If Haruka is worried about Shouta, then sympathize with the current Shouta’s feelings. Accept his feelings.”

Haruka nodded to Nao’s words without speaking. Then, just now, he was ready to face all of it: Shouta’s feelings, Nao’s feelings who’s thinking about Shouta, Natsuya’s feelings who tried to protect the swim club. That resolve turns into energy and fills his body.

“Let’s go, Makoto.”

Makoto’s up-slanting eyebrows gently arched.


Now that he had resolved himself, all that’s left is swimming with all his might.


Prompted by the long blow of the whistle, Haruka climbed onto the starting block. After deeply breathing out once, he concentrates his mind onto his center of gravity and firmly pushes it down. Then, while thinly regulating his breathing, he felt his weight on the entirety of the soles of his feet.

“Take your marks!”

Pulling back his rear foot while still keeping his waist high, he puts the tips of both his hands onto the starting block and turning his whole body into his ears, he waits.


His body reacted sooner than he thought of it in his head. Receiving power from the starting block, he dives in with a low posture.

He could hear Shouta’s voice––. He’s calling Haruka’s name. Pushed by that voice, he felt like he could fly anywhere. He felt like he could fly even without wings now.

Landing on the water further than anyone else, he adjusts the streamline’s stance. The start’s momentum was still in effect. As its proof, the water forcefully comes seeking Haruka. Responding to that request, he begins the dolphin kick. Cutting the water, he slips his body into that opening.

Surfacing from the flutter kick, he begins the stroke. He swims by changing the water’s resistance into propulsive force. The two steady axes carried Haruka’s body for him like rails.

He feels the water––. The water is feeling Haruka. While they’re both of different nature, they were able to mutually accept that existence. They’re acknowledging each other. Mutually deeply, deeply…..

Lightly touching the goal with his hand, he lifts his face. Loud shouts of joy erupted. Then, a whirl of applause. Shouta’s voice calling Haruka’s name. Kisumi’s voice. Tomo’s voice. Then, Nagisa’s voice.


Makoto’s voice. Asahi’s voice. Ikuya’s voice.


Removing his goggles, he looks up at the noticeboard. Right beneath ‘First Year Boys Free 50m’, his name was there. ‘GR’ in red letters after his time. It seems that somehow, he had broken the first years’ tournament record.


The 50m is only for the free, so they were called up for the 100m right away and he was guided to the third heat’s group.

In the neighboring lane, ––is Sousuke.

“Yo, that was perfect.”

“I wonder how it would’ve been, if you were there.”

He diplomatically tells him that it would’ve been a close match if Sousuke had swam.

“Pff, I’ll prove it to you.”

He’s saying that in the race they’re going to swim now, he’ll prove to him that his real ability is greater than his.

“I won’t lose, though.”

He has no intention to be fixated on winning or losing. It just means that if Sousuke wishes it, he’ll swim for real.

“That’s good.”

He means to come at him in that spirit. It means that it won’t be interesting if he doesn’t.

“Take your marks!”

Turning his whole body into his ears, he excludes all his senses except for his hearing.

Start––. His reaction time is approximately simultaneous with Sousuke’s. They float in midair like they had synchronized. Raising small splashes, he lands on the water. Dolphin kick from the streamline. Haruka narrowly pulled ahead. However, Sousuke’s true value is from here on out. Just when he thinks that he forcefully came gaining on him, he easily jumped in front of Haruka.

–– He feels him.

He was able to feel Sousuke to the extent that his skin tingles with electricity. And he understood from the undulations being transmitted that Sousuke is feeling Haruka, too.

Sousuke makes the turn ahead of him. For a moment, their eyes met.

–– Come.

Sousuke provokes Haruka. He doesn’t even need to be told. He releases all of his energy at once.

He’s being heated up. His hands, his feet, his body are burning red. All the water that touches him instantly evaporates.

–– He’s fast, isn’t he?


–– Sousuke is me.

He can hear Rin’s voice.

–– If ya wanna overtake me, overtake Sousuke.

He intends to, even without being told.

–– He’ll show you. That there’s no talent that can surpass hard work.

He has no recollection of swimming out of talent.

–– Sousuke can’t be overtaken.

No, he’ll overtake him.

–– Because he’s me.

Sousuke, is Rin.

–– That’s why.

That’s precisely why.

–– I absolutely can’t lose!

Haruka, who bore an intense heat, releases a bluish-white light.  At last, he became an extraordinary ball of energy and pierced through the water vapor shrouding him––.

Touching the goal with his hand, Haruka lifts his face. In the neighboring lane, Sousuke lifted his face as well and breathed in deeply. That Sousuke holds out his hand over the rope. When he grasps it, while thinking that as always, it’s a huge hand, he felt Sousuke’s lingering energy flowing into him. Again, Sousuke’s supposed to be feeling the same thing, too.

Iwatobi Middle’s cheering squad suddenly erupted and was repeatedly calling Haruka’s name. Haruka accepted those cheers and he was intently feeling yet another new energy filling him.


Asahi’s nervousness had reached an extreme state. It’s the first time in his entire life that he’s been this nervous about swimming. In the first place, nervousness comes from thinking ‘what’ll I do if I lose’, so as long as you don’t bother about the outcome, it’s no different in any way from practice.

In Asahi’s case, he was satisfied just with becoming a representative. So that’s why he didn’t need to bother about the race’s outcome, and he became a swimmer as long as he swam normally in that qualification race, so the essential element of being nervous wasn’t anywhere.

But it’s different now. It’s not about whether he’ll win or lose. It was a bigger problem of whether he’ll be able to swim or not. Asahi’s unease was in the single point of whether he’ll be able to finish swimming a mere 200m or not.

On the long whistle sound, he climbs onto the starting block.

––Wh-what was I supposed to do again?

He can’t remember how to do the start. He tries to calm down and remember, but seized by unease and fretfulness, he simply can’t concentrate.

––What was it. How was it that you breathe again?

He tries taking a breath but thinking that it’s different, he tries breathing out.


When he breathes out, his mind naturally concentrated onto his center of gravity. He remembered it with his body, not by theory. As long as he could grasp the first cue, his body moved voluntarily for the rest.

“Take your marks!”

He waits for the signal in the track start’s stance.  Before he knew it, his nervousness had disappeared.

Start on the short electronic sound. He lands on the water while thinking that he leapt well. Then, he rapidly pulls ahead with the dolphin kick. Drawing it out like that until around 15m, he begins the stroke. The moment he surfaces, he had established a lead of one body’s length ahead of the person coming after him. However––.

That’s as far as his powerful attack goes. The splashes that rise higher than necessary conceal Asahi’s body. He can’t keep his balance properly. His body stiffening up, he loses his rhythm. Although he thinks he has to swim more smoothly, he uncontrollably ends up putting power into it and it becomes a frantic way of swimming.

He panics that he has to take a breather. He doesn’t know the timing. Even though his body is supposed to remember it, he tries to think about it with his head so much that he becomes far too confused.  Having lost their balance, his limbs move irregularly, and barely managing to keep himself from sinking was the most he could do. Not intending to sink, he earnestly continues to struggle. Discovering a specific rhythm amidst that struggling, he somehow swims while clinging to that rhythm.

Exceeding 100m, he entered into uncharted territory. He becomes uneasy, wondering how far he could go with this way of swimming. The fear that he’ll sink again raises its head. Shriveling up from that fear, he ends up losing his rhythm more and more. His body becomes heavy amidst his impatience that cannot be helped. Wondering if he’ll end up going under at this rate, the feeling resembling giving up increased its depth, and at that time––.

“Asahi––, don’t give up!”

–– Haru?

He could hear Haruka’s voice. He can’t mistake it for anything else. Even if he’s among the splashes.

“You, can swim!”

–– I, can swim?

“Believe in me, Asahi! You can swim!”

Suddenly snapping, he felt power come welling up from deep down in his body. That power evoking a sense of duty in him that he must swim, it inspires Asahi. They had all decided to shoulder Haruka’s conviction. Nevertheless, it can’t end in a place like this. It must not end in a place like this––.

He stopped thinking. He leaves it to his body. He leaves it to the power that comes welling up. While raising high splashes, Asahi still moved forward. He was somehow able to push his body forward.

At the last turn, he rapidly stretches out. He begins the last stroke from the dolphin. He’s not in a hurry anymore. He’s not afraid anymore. Driven by a strong sense of duty, Asahi continued swimming.

His fingers touching the wall, he realized that he had reached the goal at last. Clinging to the grip, he heaves his shoulders up and down with his rough breathing. He couldn’t think about anything anymore. Both his energy and his endurance bottoming out, he was just barely able to cling.

Out of the blue, a hand is held out to him and he looks up. Through his goggles, Haruka was wavering. When he grabs onto that hand, he was pulled up by a strong force. Having regulated his rough breathing on the poolside, he tries to stand up somehow. By then, he finally realized that Haruka’s wavering because there’s water in his goggles.

“You put up a good fight. Asahi.”

Being told that while he’s still wearing a surly expression, he relaxes. It was the usual Haruka. The usual Haruka was saying things that weren’t typical of Haruka.

“I, ……thought I was gonna pee myself again.”

Letting his head droop, he put it on Haruka’s chest. It didn’t seem like he’d be taking off the water-filled goggles for a while.


Ikuya, who had cut into the start at the top, begins the stroke. However, even before he’s gone 50m, he was overtaken on the right, and right after it, he was overtaken on the left, too. Then, another person overtakes him.

In spite of that, Ikuya didn’t run out of concentration. His mind isn’t rushing. The thought that he’s shouldering Haruka’s conviction made Ikuya stronger. Now that he had ended up feeling the heat of what he shouldered, he can’t go back anymore. Also forgetting that this is his first race, Ikuya simply kept swimming in earnest, aiming for the 400m goal.

He’s swimming for someone’s sake––. It’s not for the sake of parading his own power, nor for the sake of craving the limelight. There’s no unease towards being made light of, nor fear towards being scorned. Without being tormented by strong feelings of inferiority, he wasn’t driven by feelings of remorse. He’s simply swimming for the sake of what he shouldered, just for the sake of that heat.

He thought that he can swim. He thought that he’ll swim it for him. He thought that he must swim. As long as he continues feeling Haruka’s conviction, even if it may be a fragment of it, he had the confidence that he’ll finish swimming with heated feelings.

When he passed by the 300m point, the swimmers going ahead of him fell back one by one. It’s not that Ikuya moved up. Putting too much confidence in their ability, the swimmers who had raised their pace too much became unable to keep up. In the last turn, Ikuya gets power from the wall and rapidly stretches out. However, he doesn’t reach. The last bit of effort left doesn’t shorten, no matter what. The impatience that he can’t catch up finally brings forth irritation.

–– Damn. Why can’t I catch up. Even though it’s only one more bit of effort, why doesn’t it shorten!

His irritated feelings change into indignation. His blood vessels condensing, his blood flow speeds up and his heartbeat begins to get disturbed.

–– Damn! Damn! Damn!

“Ikuya––, listen up!”

It’s Haruka’s voice––. Even though he’s swimming, even though he’s concentrating so much, he was able to catch just that voice.

“If it’s the long, you’re faster than me!”

–– That goes without saying. Don’t say something so obvious!

“You’re faster than me!”

The conviction that Ikuya is shouldering comes flowing into his body, carrying even more heat. Making a point of being pushed up by that energy, he accelerates infinitely. Ikuya’s body, his arms, the tips of his fingers rapidly stretched out and touched the goal that continues towards the future––.

When he raises his head over the water’s surface, the audience suddenly became excited. He turns around to the noticeboard. His name was there in third place on the overall ranking.

“You did your best. Ikuya.”

From the poolside, Haruka held out his hand. Behind him, Makoto and Asahi are there, too. Both of them were smiling. As always, Haruka was expressionless.


Holding on to that hand, he’s pulled up. While he’s being pulled up, by chance, he caught sight of Natsuya in the spectator seats. Turning his back, he’s standing firm with his feet set apart. It felt as if his back was slightly trembling.

–– It’s alright now…… Natsu-nii.

After saying that to his brother in his heart, Ikuya jumped into the middle of his companions.


Makoto stares intently at the water’s surface. He hasn’t been able to completely wipe away his anxiety yet. However, it’s not that he was feeling a distinct unease. It’s not that he has a presentiment or is feeling agitated. It’s just that the unease is drifting vaguely.

“Don’t worry. Makoto––”

With the timing as he’s about to head to the starting block, Haruka called out to him.

“I’ll swim with you.”

With that one phrase, he felt the unease disappearing as if the fog’s clearing.


After he replied with a smile, Makoto vigorously climbed onto the starting block.

“Take your marks!”

Makoto gets set while thinly regulating his breathing.

On the short electric sound, they start simultaneously––.

He lands on the water while being aware of his mind which he had concentrated onto his center of gravity. He begins the dolphin kick from the streamline. He swims while staying conscious of his center of gravity during that, too.

What’s important at 1500m is ‘retaining the correct form’. When you get tired, your elbow falls down and breaks your form, which ends up making it easier to receive the water’s resistance. That’s why it was necessary to strongly be conscious of your center of gravity. Preventing the disturbance of your form by doing that, you can swim naturally without straining yourself. After that, it depends on how you can make that concentration hold out until the end. If you end up disturbing your mind even slightly, it’ll result in consuming your physical strength there and then. With long distance, strong mental power and stamina was constantly required.

Throwing away the awareness that he’s competing, he maintains his own pace. That was the only thing he was thinking of. Both impatience and belligerence are forbidden. Entrusting his body to the water, not straining himself in the least, he keeps carving the correct rhythm inside his self. In the monotonous rhythm, he repeats monotonous movements. A monotonous sight flowing on the other side of his goggles, he only heard a monotonous sound. Water and splashes. Wall and floor. And, his own breathing. That repetition lures Makoto to a world of loneliness, inside time that seems to last an eternity.

Suddenly, he was thinking of Haruka. When Haruka swam 1500m, was he in the same loneliness, too? He swam like he was in pain while breathing hard. He wonders if he had no form, no center of gravity, no rhythm, nothing at all. Both his arms and his legs ought to have felt like they were about to be crushed from the exhaustion. There’s no doubt that he felt the 1500m to be endlessly far away. He thinks it must’ve been difficult. He thinks it must’ve been frustrating. Perhaps, he might’ve not even had the leisure to feel such things.

In the monotonous rhythm, as he was thinking about what the loneliness Haruka felt was like, Makoto ended up straying into an abyss of deep thoughts.

Abruptly, there was a momentary gap. It was truly one moment. As if it had been intently aiming at that gap, a dark shadow starts squirming on the bottom of the water. Makoto’s body trembled with shivers.

–– No. Don’t come!

Chasing after Makoto, the squirming shadow crawls on the bottom of the water and the trembles of his body become more intense.

–– Don’t come! Don’t come! Don’t come!

Terror––. His concentration breaking off, his center of gravity crumbles. Becoming unable to retain his streamline, his form is disturbed. Thinking that he must escape, he feels impatient. His chest hammering, his breathing becomes painful. His breaths can’t keep up. He can’t…… breathe. His breathing…… His breathing……

–– Aah, it might be no use.

A feeling akin to resignation is spreading. Eventually changing its form to despair, it snatched the strength from his body. He’s swallowed by the water. He’s being dragged to the bottom of the water. For Makoto, who had lost even his willpower to resist, there was nothing he could do anymore.

–– Sorry, Haru……


Haruka’s voice––. Even now as he’s about to be swallowed by the water, that voice is the only thing he doesn’t fail to hear.

“Don’t forget. I’m with you!”

Right. Haruka said that he’d swim with him.

“I’m swimming with you!”

He’s swimming with him. Haruka is swimming with him. He was able to become strong just by thinking like that. He was able to stay with strong feelings. Brushing aside both resignation and despair, a hot lump comes welling up from the depths of his chest.


With a strong vector, Haruka’s thoughts fill up inside of Makoto.

–– You can swim. You can still swim!

He felt the shadow that was squirming at the bottom of the water recede all of a sudden. When he thought it might’ve faintly swayed in the end, its form disappeared like it was being erased.

Oh, that wasn’t so bad, he thinks. If Haruka’s with him, he could swim. He should’ve just swam with Haruka at that time as well, he thinks. It feels good in the water. He feels that he’s being healed by the water. While strongly feeling that he’s being accepted by the water, Makoto continued swimming. In that case––.

I’ll accept myself, too, he thinks. If Haruka’s with him, he ought to be able to do it. There’s nothing he can’t do. He can overcome anything. If he’s with Haruka, he can accept anything––.

Swimming until the end with his feelings put into it, Makoto touched the goal with his hand. Lifting his face from the water’s surface, he breathes in deeply. When he looks up, Haruka’s face was there. Facing towards Makoto, he’s holding his hand out. Makoto lifted his goggles and stared straight into Haruka’s eyes. It felt like he could see through to the depths of his heart. Then, while feeling that he’s being looked at, he strongly gripped the outstretched hand.


The first year boys’ relay was about to begin at once. The announcement prompting them to convene airs and the swimmers gather up at the start’s location.

“Can you do it? Makoto.”

Haruka asked Makoto, who was still keeping his hands on his knees and breathing roughly with his back. Perhaps because it was difficult to even speak, Makoto gives a reply only by nodding. If Makoto says he can swim, Haruka didn’t have the room to interject with an objection.

He looks at Asahi. Sticking out his thumb to Haruka, he grins.

He looks at Ikuya. Beneath his long eyelashes, he nods straightly.

Each of them are flooding with so much exhilaration that can’t be controlled in their body. That’s what Haruka felt. Accepting those heated feelings, he quietly releases energy.

“Let’s go.”

Haruka and the others powerfully stepped forward, towards the scene of a new decisive battle.


As part of the free relay’s second heat, Asahi got on to the starting block.

“Take your marks!”

He waits for the signal in the crouching start’s stance.


Haruka was chasing Asahi with his eyes, while thinking that it was a good start. Dragging out the long dolphin kick to its very limit, he begins the stroke while surfacing. He has–– no speed. However, he no longer raised big splashes like he did until now, either. Even compared to the earlier 200m, he’s distinctly getting better. He is getting better, but even so, he was last.

He shows his tenacity in the turn, but it falls short after all. He connects to Ikuya while trailingly getting outdistanced. His reaction time is–– minus 0.3 seconds.

It was a false start. They’re disqualified at that moment.

While watching Ikuya climb onto the poolside, Haruka was feeling something inscrutable. Even during practice, he has not once seen Ikuya fail the start. Was he impatient, was he nervous, or……

Makoto spoke to Haruka in a small voice.

“I might be overthinking it, but––”

Makoto’s gaze stays fixed on Ikuya climbing onto the poolside.

“Out of concern for us, it might be that he did a false start on purpose.”

Considering Makoto’s stamina, who had swum on long distance, it certainly is reckless to swim the free relay. There’s no swimmer on any team who had swum 1500m. In the first place, there was no reason that Haruka and the others had to swim the free relay. If only it weren’t for Haruka’s fixation and his promise with Natsuya……

After this, the medley relay begins with an interval held between. By then, a bit of Makoto’s stamina may recover, too. Could it be that Ikuya was concerned about that? Supposing that’s the case, why does he have to be concerned about even Haruka? Makoto said ‘us’. When he thought that he has no recollection of anything that warrants concern, all of a sudden, it occurred to him.

“Because of my….. injury?”

Makoto raises his up-slanting eyebrows and nods. Haruka took a look at his own foot. Indeed, the blue bruise still remains vivid. However……

It’s ridiculous, he thinks. Looking at the race earlier, it’d be easy to at least tell if it was the swimming of an injured guy or not. What’s more, no matter how much he thought of Haruka’s fixation as his conviction, there’s no need to commit a false start. It’s something that can be settled if Ikuya were to say “I’m not participating”.

Haruka decided to conclude that Ikuya didn’t do the false start on purpose. It’s Makoto’s making too much of it. He decided to think of it as such.


While apologizing curtly, Ikuya takes off his cap and goggles, and looks at Haruka from beneath his long eyelashes with upturned eyes. They weren’t those darkly shining, piercing eyes. Without showing a smile or looking sorry, he was only looking at him bluntly. Unable to read his true intention from that expression, Haruka could only look at Ikuya, who was dripping with water.

“This jerk. Making a waste outta my swimming.”

Sticking out his fist, Asahi lightly hit Ikuya’s chest. Then, he puffs out a laugh.

“It’ll be the next one, the next one. Let’s redeem ourselves in the medley.”

Makoto turns around to Haruka while placing his hand on Ikuya’s and Asahi’s shoulder.

Asahi sticks out his right fist towards Haruka.

Ikuya’s strong will dwells in his eyes staring at Haruka.

Even though they were disqualified by the false start, the team’s morale hasn’t dropped. If it was blatant concern, he wonders how it must’ve been. Could he have rejected being companions again?

It’s ridiculous, he thinks. It’s not like you swim faster from a sense of camaraderie. Companions are constraining and stifling, ……and yet they’re oddly warm.

“Let’s go.”

After turning on his heels, Haruka was quietly feeling energy start to burn within his body while walking.


Between the free relay and the medley relay, they’re taking a brief interval. It’s because there are often cases where people inevitably end up holding two positions at the same time, due to it being difficult to get eight swimmers ready from one school, much less from just the same year. Making use of that interval, each team was doing calisthenics, receiving advice from the senpais and the like.

Haruka and the others were called by Nao as well, they came to the border between the pathway and the poolside.

“Up until now, you did well. Only the medley’s left. Swim with all your heart!”


“A swimming team is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. It’s not like you can always swim with the same members. Not to mention, even throughout the season, this is just about the only tournament where you can team up from the same school year. That’s why it’ll be at this tournament a year later that the four of you can team up again.”

“…… Yes.”

“If even one of you is missing at that time, swimming with these members will eternally–– be gone.”

Sweat streams down Haruka’s back. Gradually seeping out, it streams and falls down. He was finally able to sympathize with what kind of meaning this tournament held for Shouta and the second years. It wasn’t supposed to be a tournament purely for the sake of measuring times. It’s the same for Nao and the third years. There’s no doubt that it held a meaning for each of them.

That’s what becoming unable to swim is. Basically, that’s what swimming as a team is. Even if there are other places to swim, these members are only here.

Just once, Haruka tightly gripped his fist.

“It’s all right. Nao-senpai. Despite what we look like, we’re pretty persistent.”*

Asahi says something he sort of understands, yet sort of doesn’t.

“That’s right. Survive persistently. Live through it boldly. Keep living audaciously. If you want to swim again with these members, do it with that much determination. Don’t be perturbed over small things. Have a strong will!”


Nao’s feelings are strongly conveyed. Then, he learns the meaning of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. It makes him realize that the fragility, the fleetingness and the lonesomeness of companions comes along with its glasswork-like brilliance, too.

“Next year, the year after that, for the sake of swimming with these members as well, make sure to burn the relay you’re going to swim now into your hearts. Make it something unforgettable. Show us–– something unforgettable!”


The four voices match up. The feelings of the four of them overlap each other. The relay they’re going to swim now brings a big meaning. For the sake of making it unforgettable as well, they can’t lose. For the sake of burning it in as well, they must win by all means. For the sake of making the feeling of swimming with these members again into a certainty, they have to overcome their limits. They were able to be strongly aware of that.


The medley relay’s convening is announced. The spectator seats are getting excited and he could hear the cheering song Shouta sings one stage louder. Eventually it becomes a big chorus, dragging the second and third year club members into it as well.

It turned out that Iwatobi Middle and Sano Middle had the start in the same first heat. He can see Sousuke’s lanky figure, too. He was slapping his body here and there. He’s heard from Makoto before that it stimulates your muscles. When he asked if you become faster, he said by about a few tenths of a second. It seems that it’s effective, if it’s people who swim with a narrow margin between them.

When the time came to enter the course soon, Sousuke called out to Haruka.

“Rin’s feelings, I finally understood them.”


“The pressure of being gained on by Nanase.”

“That is?”

“While swimming, my skin tingled. That was the first time.”


“–– But, I’ve already experienced it. Next time, I won’t let you overtake me!”

“Only if you can swim ahead of me.”

After lightly saying it, Haruka raised the corner of his mouth. Responding to that, Sousuke also smiles fearlessly. After staring into each other’s eyes for a few seconds, prompted by the whistle, they split up and went towards each of their courses.


While doing the pre-start warm-up exercises, Makoto spoke to him.

“Hey, Haru. When you joined the club, did you really think I’d joined the swim club?”

Staying bent forward, Haruka suitably replied while wondering why he’s bringing it up now.


Makoto asks while turning his hands joined behind his back over his head.

“Didn’t you think that even if I hadn’t joined, if Haru joins the club, I’d join as well anyways?”

Saying it mostly categorically, he raises his up-slanting eyebrows.

“I wonder how it was. I forgot.”

While pressing his chest against his overextending knees, Haruka ambiguously replied.

–– I wonder how it was.

He whispers it again in his heart.

It doesn’t really matter which it was. If Makoto wants to think so, then it’s fine like that. If he wants to feel a bond by tying a coincidence to inevitability, he thinks it’s fine.


After the series of short whistles, Makoto enters the water on the long whistle. Then, on the next long whistle, he takes hold of the grip and presses both feet against the wall.

“Take your marks!”

Firmly pulling in his body, he waits for the starting signal.

–– Push your knees into it.

In the moment Nao’s voice crossed his mind, the short buzzer sound resounded.

His body reacts. Stretching out his lower back, he pushes his knees with the intent of hitting it against the wall. Receiving enough force from the wall, Makoto jumped into midair. He feels the ephemeral soaring to be an eternity. Farther, farther than anyone else––.

He begins the Vassallo after landing on the water. In the backstroke, you can’t speed up as much as in the crawl or the butterfly. Due to that, the role that the Vassallo fulfills becomes bigger. Switching to the flutter kick just barely at 15m, he surfaces while beginning the stroke.

He could hear great cheering. Amongst that were voices calling his own name, too. While taking a breather with the recovery’s timing, he tries to check the other lanes. There was no one. He doesn’t know how much of a lead he’s opened up. However, no matter how much is opened or isn’t, what he had to do was the same.

–– Reaching to my companions, faster than anyone!

While thinking about only that, Makoto struck the water.

At the 50m turn, he rotates while twisting his body. Pressing the sole of his feet against the wall, after he’s confirmed that he had accumulated enough force, he sends forth that power all at once.

While greatly feeling the water’s resistance, he passes by the other swimmers. He begins the Vassallo, making sure to pierce through that resistance.

All of a sudden, it smelt like the tide. Though he was in the water, he was able to feel the scent of the seawater in his nose. He’s swimming in the sea, he thought. He came back to that sea again. The blue sky was swaying beyond the surface of the sea. Even through the flowing water, he can clearly tell how blue it is.

––Hi there.

When Makoto begins to surface while greeting it, the radiant sky welcomed him. Reflecting that sky, the sea glistens. While shining like a diamond and softly billowing like a marshmallow, it gently wrapped around Makoto.

He was able to accept his new companions, he thought. He clearly came to feel that they were able to become a real team. That’s precisely why he can see this sight. That’s precisely why he feels it. That inside Makoto, Asahi, Ikuya and Haruka are strongly existing––.

The existence of his companions turns Makoto into a creature of the sea. That unwavering bond burns into his heart. Flapping his tail fin, making his body undulate, he swims faster than any creature inhabiting the sea. He was able to strongly think that he must swim fast.

To that place, where his companions wait––.


Ikuya was standing on the starting block while synchronizing his own breathing to Makoto’s. Keeping his mind collected on his center of gravity, he motionlessly waits for that time. Matching it to when Makoto’s arm firmly stretches out, he enters the start’s movements. Measuring the timing, he pulled back his rear leg. While affirming that Makoto’s hand touches the wall, he thrusts out his front leg. His reaction time is, “0”––.


While fluttering in midair, he heard Makoto’s voice. He’s pushed by that voice. Creating a streamline after entering the water, he cuts through the water and advances. One pull and one kick. He surfaces while restoring his balance with the dolphin kick. Grabbing the water, he kicks the water. Changing the water’s resistance into propulsive force, he breaks through the water. He doesn’t let anyone catch up to him. Ikuya swam with those strong thoughts.

At the 50m turn, he receives power from the wall. One pull and one kick. Reading the water’s movements, he taps into the water’s flow. Pulling the water towards himself, he takes in the water. And then while changing the water’s resistance into propulsive force, he accelerates again.

All of a sudden a ‘memory’ flowed in the water.

–– Satomi.

Then, another one.

–– Natsu-nii.

They’re not the photographs he buried that day. The memories inside of him are flowing past him one by one. They’re all things that aren’t worth mentioning in particular.

Satomi was standing, Natsuya was running, Ikuya was hanging from the horizontal bar. Satomi was reading a book, Natsuya was drinking barley tea from the spout of the kettle, Ikuya was painting a portrait of the three of them. Recollections of a carefree daily life that couldn’t even be called memories. Such things are flowing in the water, one after the other.

Though it’s the trivial daily life, each and every one of them were all precious things. They weren’t something he could throw away or forget. He must carry them all. The memories that will increase one by one from now on as well, the strength to carry them all, precisely that strength was necessary.

The future is on top of the entire past. He had finally come to realize it now.

Amongst the flowing memories, the faces of his companions are mixed in. Asahi was spiking his hair and spouting curses, Makoto was touching Ikuya’s shoulder with his big hand, Haruka was looking at him with an unfriendly expression. Yearning for that something shining in those eyes, in the depths of those eyes, Ikuya reaches out his hand.

For the sake of moving forward––. For the sake of knocking on the future’s door––. For the sake of burning it into his heart––.


–– Come, Ikuya!

While thinly regulating his breathing, Asahi waited for Ikuya. The starting block tries to push back the weight of his body. While holding it down by sheer strength, he sharpens his senses.

–– Come, come, come.

Ikuya’s hand extends. Then, the last pull.

–– He’s here!

He kicks his rear leg. He doesn’t see Ikuya’s hand. His senses tell him the timing.

–– Here I go!

Thrusting his front leg, he flutters in midair.


–– I can hear ya, Ikuya!

Creating a streamline after landing on the water, he begins the dolphin kick.

–– Woohoo!

As if he’s uncorking the frustration that had pent up from the free, he begins the stroke.

––This is it, this is it, this is it!

His body leaps. He’s light. If he puts his mind to it, he thinks that maybe he could fly until the wall on the other side, like a flying fish. The sense of liberation that seems to pierce through him is rapidly setting his body free.

–– Sakuyuki!

Sakuyuki, who’s in the same heat, dove in just now. He didn’t see him. He felt it to be so.

–– How’s this, Sakuyuki. I’m fast, aren’t I? Can you catch up?

It was until elementary school that Sakuyuki was faster at the butterfly. It’s different now. He ended up learning the joy of being able to swim. He ended up learning the meaning of swimming with companions.

–– Every day, I’ve been practicing. I haven’t skipped.

No matter how much he swings his arms, no matter how much he strikes his feet, it doesn’t feel like he’ll run out of endurance.

––This is what it’s like, when I get serious.

One after the other, new power comes welling up, unlimitedly, endlessly.

–– Sakuyuki……, it’s thanks to you.

He asked why he doesn’t stop swimming. He told him that maybe he likes swimming. He couldn’t deny it. He couldn’t help but admit it. That he likes swimming––.

He doesn’t know why he likes it. He doesn’t remember when he started liking it, either. However, if it’s something he likes, it won’t do to give up. Now that he’s admitted it, he was able to resolve himself to it.

All of a sudden, he remembered the first time he swam the crawl. The crawl that his father had just taught him. When they couldn’t even take a breather properly yet, they competed over who could reach 10m first.

–– Competed? With who?

He forgot who. He forgot, but it’s a guy who ticks him off. Just against that guy, he doesn’t want to lose, he thought. He puts in power; like hell he’ll lose, that’s for sure. Rotating his arms to the limits of his power, he kicked his legs. However, his breathing doesn’t continue. One more pull to go. One more kick to go. Until that line. Until that line––.

The moment when he thought he’d finished swimming, he was picked up by his father. He didn’t understand why, but he cried. That guy was also picked up by his father and was crying. Both of them were sobbing.

–– What’s with me? I’ve liked swimming ever since then, haven’t I?

As he thinks that, it made him laugh. As he thinks that, a new power came welling up.

–– Wait up, Haru!

He calls his companion’s name.

–– Cuz I’m heading there now!

No one can catch up to him, that’s the thought he conveys to his feet. He’ll reach there faster than anyone, that’s the thought he fills his arms with. While feeling his strong bond with his companions being burned into his heart, Asahi accelerated, aiming for the goal.

And now, he crosses over a new line––.


While waiting for Asahi on the starting block, Haruka had his eyes turned towards Sousuke, who was in the same heat. The Sousuke he sees through his goggles is lankier than usual.

–– Sorry. I’ll be making the start first.

While synchronizing to Asahi’s breathing, he emits energy from his body. Then, without the slightest error, Haruka soared––.

“Go, Haru––”

He’s pushed by Asahi’s voice. Not just Asahi’s. Makoto’s voice and Ikuya’s voice, too, push Haruka. He could hear Shouta’s voice, Nagisa’s voice and Kisumi’s voice, too. Changing those voices into energy, it combusts in the depths of his chest.

He lands on the water, with his body heated up. Shrouding vapor. Strong feelings that can’t be stopped. Burning those feelings into his heart, he becomes a single ray of light and goes piercing through.

Waters that come forcefully closing in on him. He was able to accept all of it. It’s not like they’re becoming one body. It’s not like he’s being jostled, either. He feels the water. With his skin, his eyes, his heart––.

And then, without doubting what he felt, he acknowledges it all. While both of them are of a different nature, they strongly and mutually acknowledge the significance of existing.

Makoto had said that they’re like water. That may be so, he thinks. The sight that he’s seeing now tells of that more than anything.

A sight that he can’t see alone, no matter how he swims. A feeling that’s unfulfilled alone, no matter how he improves. A speed that he can’t bring into being alone, no matter how much he desires it.

Then, he shakes off even that high speed––

–– Rin. What sight are you seeing?

Haruka condensed the energy he was releasing into his center of gravity.


In accordance with the energy’s pressure increasing, it began to dazzlingly shine inside of Haruka. That strong light gradually becoming bigger, it envelops his entire body.

All of a sudden, the sight around him disappeared. Both the water and the cheering having disappeared, Haruka was swimming in pitch-black darkness and silence, while glowing like a deep-sea fish. Haruka continuing to swim in a world where there’s no up or down, nor even the flow of time.

In the end, even the light he emits from himself disappears, and Haruka himself is disappearing……

Then descends ––nothing––.


2 thoughts on “High Speed! 2: Chapter 12 – Accelerate

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