Let’s go for a dip! The community’s favorite swimming animations

Go ahead and hold your breath

Living with my in-laws for summer means joining them as they go to the city’s public pool for a cool swim during these hot, Central Californian heat waves. I’ve helped teach them how to swim because before they usually just enjoy the shallow end as they’ve never really bothered learning how to swim since they live far from an actual beach. But swimming for people who don’t know how to swim really got me to thinking just how much of my form borrows heavily from Mario 64.

A walk cycle is a dime a dozen. Walking is just a series of controlled falls after all and walking in a game means there’s more jumping and climbing so you never have a lot of time to appreciate it. Swimming however is usually a long, smooth, uninterrupted animation that you get to enjoy. So much of my own swimming form was informed from Mario’s breast stroke in Mario 64, I could’ve just perfected my form from that if I didn’t formally learn swimming from summer camp. From Lara Croft’s smooth breast strokes to Amaterasu’s doggy paddle, there can be a lot to learn about swimming if you watch carefully while keeping on eye on your air meter.

So with all the diversity in our community, what are some of your favorite swimming animations of note? Here’s what just some of you said.

Agent9 knows true beauty:

The best by far:


The only thing to come close is the dolphin dive from Majora’s Mask. I mean come on he’s practically a speed boat and the fight is awesome.

Heat peered into the abyss and the abyss did a weird dance:

Maybe not my favorite, but those Cthulhu-esque abominations Donald and Goofy turn into in Kingdom Hearts are certainly something else.


 Inquisitive Ravenclaw remembers that Tails can do more than fly:

I always liked Tails’s doggie paddle 


And, although not from a game, here’s a shout-out to the greatest swimming in animation history! 

I never saw CelicaCrazed‘s example:

Swimming in AC: Black Flag was tolerable!

Roager lives life aquatic:

For nostalgia reasons, mostly. This was the first Super Nintendo game I ever played, which means I’ll always remember every piece of it as jawdroppingly gorgeous. Also the water music is nice. 

Casus Gaming takes a big refreshing breath of air:

Not an animation but the sound kid Link makes in Ocarina of Time when he emerges from water is super satisfying. That big “BWA” of Link taking a breath is such a comforting sound.

Chris Moyse goes straight to marine life, masters of swimming:

Ecco the Dolphin just being chill, so fluid and relaxing.


Lord Spencer takes the gift of Iwata:

Swimming in the original 2D Mario games. Especially since the code trick to make it work is inspired by Iwata’s genius programming in Balloon Fight.

Once again it’s time to bring up Rayman Legends. Thanks Avoclefo!:

The swimming in Rayman Origins/Legends feels great. The 360 movement is graceful and I love how the run button functions the exact same underwater, increasing and decreasing your speed instantly. Both speeds have luscious animations to match (especially if you’re Globox).

Gattling Combo knows that swimming is the strongest combat of all:

I hate swimming, I hate summer. The only thing I like about summer are the summer skins I shamelessly buy for online games I play. Thank you for this post though. It gives me another moment to appreciate Nagare from Rival Schools 2.

If I had Mr. Namikawa as a swimming teacher when I was at summer camp…I’d still say fuck this, I’m going to arts and crafts or something. But you can’t deny how much of a badass Nagare is, gracefully swimming in midair while fighting a baseball player.

I checked back at the last minute before starting this post and can’t believe I forgot about Rival Schools. I have a lot to learn before I can fight with a midair stroke!

Marcel Hoang
Local contributor responsible for duties such as engagement, power bombs, cblog promotions, community engagement, and memes. I like fighting games, you scrub.