Charles River Swimming Day

Special to the Times

The Charles River Conservancy (CRC) and Charles River Swimming Club (CRSC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), are proud to announce the Charles River Swimming Day on June 18. The public is invited to participate in the 11th Annual One Mile Swim and the 6th Annual City Splash that day at the DCR’s Fiedler Dock on the Esplanade in Boston, MA. A rain date is planned for June 19. Join the CRC in the evening for an afterparty at Owl’s Nest on the Esplanade. 

Both events return after being canceled during the pandemic and will be held on the same day for the first time ever. “We’re so excited to bring these signature events back to the Charles River to celebrate river swimming and strengthen community connections to this important resource,” said CRC Executive Director Laura Jasinski. “We believe everyone should have access to the Charles to cool off on a hot summer day and we are working to make that a reality. We’ll also be highlighting other ways for community members to beat the heat safely in the summer until that day comes.”

Registration for both events fills up quickly and attracts environmental leaders and advocates in addition to community members. “I have treasured my connection to the Conservancy for a long time, from serving on the board to joining previous City Splash events,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m looking forward to this year’s City Splash and seeing so many enjoy the beautiful Charles River and Esplanade.” 

The one-mile swim has been a favorite for local endurance athletes. “The one-mile race is the only opportunity for competitive swimming in the Charles, and it’s one of the only open water swim races that takes place in Boston,” said CRSC Race Director & President Kate Radville. “One-mile swim registrants get to appreciate iconic views of the Boston skyline at a special location in the heart of the city. We’re looking forward to our eleventh race this year.”

Swimming in the Charles is only possible through a DCR Special Use Permit. The events reflect the agency’s goals to promote safe swimming and use of waterfront resources. Underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and happiness of people across Massachusetts depend on the accessibility and quality of green infrastructure. DCR continues to improve the vital connection between people and the environment by partnering with groups like the CRC and CRSC, recently increasing opportunities for swim safety by funding swim lessons through the new Safe Water Initiative Massachusetts (SWIM). “The Baker-Polito Administration relies on strong partnerships with stakeholders like the Charles River Conservancy and the Charles River Swimming Club to promote health and wellness to the residents of Massachusetts through recreational activities,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “The annual Charles River Swimming Day provides a unique opportunity to swim in the Charles River while highlighting the importance of swim safety.”

Below is a brief description of each event. Swimmers can choose the event that fits their style or participate in both! Participants will need to register for each event separately.

The Charles River Conservancy’s City Splash Registration: Coming in May.

Community swim in deep water

Start: mid-day through afternoon

Demarcated swimming area off public dock, for safety reasons restricted to registered participants

25-minute time slots

Deep-water swimmers only!

Age 12+ and confident treading water

You will not be able to touch the bottom

The Charles River Swimming Club’s Annual One Mile Swim

One Mile race

Start: Early morning

1-mile loop course between Harvard and Longfellow Bridge

Participation cap: 200 pre-registered swimmers

Experienced swimmers only!

Age 18+ and capable of swimming 1 mile in 40 minutes or less

You will not be able to touch the bottom

Thanks to the hard work of the EPA’s Charles River Initiative and the dedication of government bodies, environmental groups and nonprofits, the Charles River has made great strides toward better water quality since swimming ended in the 1950’s due to the health risks posed by pollution. Both the CRC and the CRSC look forward to the day when swimming is not just a one-day occurrence, but has a permanent home again in the Charles. In accordance with the CRC’s mission of inviting and engaging all in the Charles River’s use and stewardship, the CRC is excited to increase chances for Boston area residents and visitors to get in the water! “Once a year isn’t enough,” said Jasinski. “We look forward to the day when swimming in the Charles is a regular activity again.”

The Charles River Conservancy (CRC), founded in 2000, is a non-profit dedicated to the stewardship, renewal, and enhancement of the urban parks along the Charles River, from Boston Harbor to the Watertown Dam. With a mission to invite and engage all in the Charles River and its parks’ use and stewardship, the CRC looks for ways to increase opportunities for urban swims.

For more information about the CRC, please visit or email [email protected]. Follow the CRC on Twitter @CharlesRiverCRC,  Instagram @CharlesRiverCRC or Facebook

The Charles River Swimming Club, Inc. is an all-volunteer organization founded in 2005 with the dual purpose of organizing competitive swimming events in the Charles River and facilitating the return of public river swimming. 

For more information about the CRSC, please visit or email [email protected].

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country. Its 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds. DCR protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources for the well-being of all.

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