When Makoto, Haruka, Nagisa and Rin swim the relay together in the final episode of season one, they each experience a sort of revelation—a vision that is unique to them and is tied closely to their character. As the first leg of the relay, Makoto’s dream-like sequence is revealed first.
What he saw
In the beginning, it appears as though Makoto is struggling. Breathing heavily, he seems exhausted and overwhelmed, trapped beneath the dark waters surrounding him—despite swimming above them in reality.
Suddenly, however, his strained expression relaxes into one of surprise, and in his dream he rises above the dark abyss to break the water’s surface.
What does he see? A deep blue sky, sunny and serene.
The sight is reminiscent of the very sky Makoto and the others saw the morning after the storm.
As he floats peacefully on the calm waters of his vision, the same smile he wore on that day adorns his face. There is no fear, no panic; there is only happiness and a sense of relief in his expression.
Compared to his other teammates in their dream sequences, Makoto is quite still and composed throughout the scene. He barely swims and, instead, simply drifts through the water, unmoving. This behavior is a noticeable change from what he used to be like in the water prior to the team’s seaside training:
"Whenever I get into the pool, I stop being calm. Instead of swimming, I feel like I'm running away from something. Even though I'm not in the ocean, and even when my feet can touch the bottom just fine. ... I'm always running from the water."Although the passage is taken form the light novel, in which Makoto is afraid of the water instead of the ocean, it nevertheless helps illustrate the amount of growth he experiences over the course of the series. In the past, he would fight the water or find himself frozen in fear. Now, in the relay, he swims confidently, knowing that there is nothing to be afraid of with his friends beside him.
High☆Speed! Chapter Three: Free
From the imagery to his behavior, what Makoto sees during the relay is an echo of what he experiences when he overcomes his fear of the ocean. Much like how he steps into the sea after the storm, in the relay he swims with conviction, unafraid and, above all, at peace with himself.