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In the first season of Free!, the three main swimmers of Iwatobi Swim Club could only manage to add one new swimmer, Rei. (Gou, while a member, was not a swimmer.) In the second season, even though it was an active and ongoing goal, they never managed to add anyone else. While the issue was not actually central to the plot, it bothers me that these likeable guys could not find anyone else.

I can think of two possibilities. The first is production-based -- the folks doing the anime chose not to complicate the plot with any more characters. To counter that, though, the Samezuka Acadamy, with already at least a dozen on their team, added two more significant ones during the 2nd season. The other possibility is that there is an underlying reason within the story that the Iwatobi High School Swim Club is supposed to die. It will do so after this school year, due to the graduation of Haru and Makoto. With only three members (two swimmers), the team would be auto-disbanded. Why can they not get any new teammates?

  • Having completed my re-watch of Eternal Summer, there is like a 3-second scene during the closing credits which applies to this question. Various future events are displayed, one of which is Nagisa, Rei, and Gou apparently adding new guys to the swim team, probably at the start of the next school year. Even if so, why could they not recruit anyone else during the two school years covered? – RichF Sep 15 '16 at 6:16
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It is not that they didn't try getting more members, but it's just that no one showed interest in joining the swimming club. In one of the episode, it is shown that the club members put on a show to recruit new members, but fail drastically.

I don't remember the episode number as of now. I will add the reference when I find the episode. It was like a stage in which each club showcases themselves to get new members from the first years.

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    There are at least two episodes of Eternal Summer where significant screen time is spent trying to recruit. They did try, I just cannot figure out why they did not succeed. – RichF Sep 15 '16 at 6:09

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