Yearly Archives: 2019

 
BOSTON MAGAZINE

Photo credit Topher Baldwin / Charles River Conservancy

 

A dip in the Charles River might not sound like a particularly pleasant activity at this moment in time, but do you remember how hot last summer was? When heat waves swept over the city, a splash in the city’s iconic river would have been happily welcomed. Well now, on June 15 you can do just that.

The Charles River Conservancy and the Charles River Swimming Club have joined forces to bring you a Charles River swimming day that will include the City Splash event and a one-mile race. The Globe reported this is the first time the two events have ever been held on the same day and it will even include an after party in Cambridge.

If the cleanliness of the water is top on your list of concerns though, rest assured, because the Charles is clean. It received a grade of an A- from the EPA in 2017 which means that the water quality “almost always met standards for boating and swimming.”

The one-mile race will take place first at 8 a.m. on June 15 and will begin on the River Dock near the Arthur Fiedler head statue and you’ll swim a loop course between Harvard and Longfellow Bridge. The race is capped at 200 swimmers and the club advises that this is not for novices—you should be able to swim one mile comfortably in 40 minutes or less.

If strapping on a swim cap and goggles isn’t much of your style, then on the same day head down to the DCR’s Fiedler Community Dock on the Esplanade for casual swimming in the afternoon City Splash event, just be sure you feel comfortable in deep water.

And if you can’t make it to the river for this all-day swim experience, you might be able to hold out hope for a more permanent way to take advantage of the natural swimming pool in our own backyard. Back in 2016, the conservancy launched a study in partnership with design firm Stantec, to propose a swimming-hole like structure at North Point Park near the Zakim Bridge.

The Globe asked Laura Jasinski, executive director of the Charles River Conservancy, about it and she saidthey’re still developing design drawings and working on an operations plan to assess how to operate and program a facility like that for seasonal use.

In the meantime, enjoy your one day to take a dip. After all, the Charles is the cleanest urban river in America.

For more information on City Splash: thecharles.org. And to sign-up for the one-mile race: charlesriverswimmingclub.org

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A swimmer took the plunge at a 2015 CitySplash event at the Charles River Esplanade in Boston. CRAIG F. WALKER / GLOBE STAFF/FILE

 

Wednesday marked the first official day of spring, which, for the more optimistic, means that summer is just a few months around the corner — lingering March snow piles be damned.

To herald the change of the seasons, the Charles River Conservancy and the Charles River Swimming Club announced this week they’ve combined forces to host Charles River Swimming Day, a daylong celebration where people can plunge into the city’s biggest tea-colored swimming pool.

On Saturday, June 15, the conservancy will revive its annual City Splash event — it went on hiatus in 2018 — at the Fiedler Dock along the Esplanade. That same day, earlier in the morning, the swimming club will host its 11th annual 1-mile swim down the river.

It’s the first time the two events have ever been held on the same day, and to top it off, Charles River Swimming Day will include an after party across the river, in Cambridge, officials said.

“We’re really excited to bring back City Splash and looking forward to combining the two events to have a full day of river swimming,” said Laura Jasinski, executive director of the conservancy. “There’s certainly some benefit for us to be able to share resources and the date to get people swimming, whether you’re an athlete and want to do the 1-mile swim or just do it casually at the dock.”

Jasinski said due to its popularity in the past, additional time slots will probably be added to the City Splash event so more people can hop into the water. The event is also being hosted on a Saturday so that people don’t need to rush out of work to take a dip, as they did in years past.

The conservancy also is trying to put together a celebrity cannonball competition, though plans for the contest haven’t been finalized.

“It’ll be the culminating splash event for City Splash,” Jasinski said. “We’re working on finding some VIPs for that.”

The dual swimming event in the river, which receivedan “A-” grade for bacterial water quality from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017, is a partnership between the conservancy, the swimming club, and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Leo Roy, commissioner of the department, said in a statement that Governor Charlie Baker’s administration “strives to foster strong partnerships with stakeholders” like the conservancy and the swimming club to make these types of events possible.

“Importantly,” he said, “Charles River Swimming Day provides a unique experience for Massachusetts residents and visitors alike to access the Charles River during this community event.”

Last year, for the first time in five years, the Charles River Conservancy put City Splash on hold so it could focus on bringing a permanent, seasonal swimming location to the river.

In 2016,the nonprofit unveiled plansfor a floating dock at North Point Park, near the Zakim bridge, so swimmers could jump into the river more than just once a year. The project is still in its early stages, however.

“We’re still developing design drawings, learning some precedents from other parts of the world, and working on an operations plan on who can use the facility and how to program it and how to operate it,” Jasinski said.

In the meantime, a double-dose of Charles River swimming in June will have to suffice.

Registration for City Splash will begin in May, officials said. Sign-ups for the 1-mile swim opens Thursday, March 21, and is capped at 200 swimmers,according to event details. Participants may sign up for both events.

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