♦ DW: sedins
♦ AIM: gutalalasudalala
♦ Plurk: ikolthecrow
[Timezone]: PST - Pacific
[Other Characters]: N/A
[Name]: Haruka Nanase
[Canon]: Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
[Canon Point]: Ep. 6 of the anime.
Haruka was born in a relatively small town in Japan next to the ocean, making water an everyday part of his life since he was very young. His parents left to work in the city, so Haruka spent most of his childhood living with his grandmother and, after she passed away, by himself.
A defining moment in his life, however, came in elementary school, when he joined the swimming club. Although he already knew Makoto Tachibana, his best friend, it is here that he met Nagisa Hazuki and Rin Matsuoka, and the four of them would become a relay team as well as very close friends. In particular, the relationship with Rin was a major motivating point for Haruka: although he had always simply enjoyed the feeling of just being in the water, competing with Rin also pushed him to want to WIN. Soon after the four of them won a relay race together, Rin left for Australia so he could train, as he dreamed of becoming an Olympic swimmer.
Although he didn't tell anybody else, Haruka and Rin had a race one New Year’s Day when Rin was visiting his hometown again. Haruka won, making Rin cry in frustration – seeing this upset Haru so much that he decided to quit competitive swimming.
Another important point in his life came in his second year in high school. Although he and Makoto had remained close, this was the year when they reunited with Nagisa – who was finally joining their high school – and when Rin came back from Australia, determined to challenge Haruka once again. Haruka, Makoto and Nagisa, along with Kou (Rin's little sister) and Rei Ryugazaki, created their school’s swim club, marking Haruka's return to competitive swimming as well as reigniting of his competition with Rin.
Haruka has one major fixation, and that is water. He loves swimming, to the point that he’ll spend hours in the bathtub (sometimes only leaving it in the mornings when Makoto comes to pick him up for school), only eat fish (in particular mackerel), and most prominently undress and jump into any body of water large enough for him to sink in, like kiddie pools or fish tanks in stores. This focus on swimming makes him look dispassionate about everything else, and in some ways he does come off as an aloof, stand-offish person. Haruka has very little apparent interest in actively increasing his circle of friends and would rather spend his time swimming.
Nonetheless, that doesn't mean he's an insensitive person – on the contrary, Haruka is usually fairly aware and empathetic to the feelings of others. One example of this can be seen when he was horribly hurt himself by seeing Rin cry after their race. Haruka began associating the idea of racing with the hurt he had caused Rin, making him decide to stop doing it. Similarly, although he initially felt antagonistic towards Rei because he had been negative towards the water (saying “the water doesn't like him”), once he saw how hard he was trying to learn how to swim, Haruka attempted to help him, both by teaching him and by giving him advice, telling him not to overthink it. The biggest show of how much he cares for others, however, can be seen with the way he cares about Makoto when the club decides to go for a training camp and swim at the ocean, of which Makoto was afraid. He shows obvious concern for his best friend by constantly asking him if he was alright with swimming in the ocean as well as by becoming protective of him later on, when he almost drowns and the others begin to ask Makoto about his fear of the ocean.
At the beginning of the series, Haruka says he is waiting until he turns 20 so he can become “ordinary”, and not be considered a “genius” of swimming anymore: for him it is much better to simply swim without having the extra burden of competing. When Rin comes back, however, his competitive streak is reborn, telling him that it wouldn't be bad to wait a bit longer to be ordinary. Even though Haruka has an immense amount of talent, he often prefers to simply sit back and swim rather than push himself: his relationship with Rin is therefor particularly important, as it awakens a side of him that he usually doesn't bother exploring, and makes him take a more proactive role in his own life.
[Abilities / Strengths & Weaknesses]:
Haruka is an incredibly good swimmer, having done so for most of his life. He’s also a really good artist.
[Other Important Facts]:
The people in this boat keep stopping me from jumping the water. What’s the point of being so close to the ocean if you can’t swim?
They kicked me out of the bathtub, too.
Being a pirate is more boring than I thought.