For the third consecutive year, State Rep. Jay Livingstone was among the 500 swimmers to take a dip in the Charles River on July 25 as part of the Charles River Conservancy’s “City Splash.”
“It’s a fun, safe swim, and it’s part of the Conservancy’s and my efforts to bring swimming back to Charles,” Livingstone said.
In partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Cambridge-based nonprofit dedicated to the stewardship, renewal, and enhancement of urban parklands along the river held its first community swim on July 13, 2013. The inaugural “City Splash” marked the first public swim in the Charles in more than 50 years.
Recreational swimming has been prohibited in the Charles since the 1950s, when a growing awareness of the health risks posed by pollution caused beaches and bathhouses on its banks to close. After years of environmental health initiatives, including the Clean Charles River Initiative, swimming is now allowed through permitted events, such as the Charles River Conservancy’s community swims and the annual Charles River Swimming Club’s One-Mile Swim Race, which began in 2007.
“My excitement about swimming in the Charles is so great that I mentioned it recently at dinner party on Revere Street,” said Renata Von Tscharner, the Conservancy’s president. “So a few days later, Aurore de Neuville seized the moment and walked down the hill to join the ‘City Splash.’”
Von Tscharner added, “Many of the swimmers, like Pam Kocher of Walnut Street, are repeat [participants] and willing to become advocates.”
The Conservancy intends to regularly hold community swims on the Chsrles and eventually open a permanent swim-location on the river, von Tscharner said.
Meanwhile, Livingstone plans to take part in “City Splash” next year and looks forward to again seeing the city from the unique vantage point of swimming in the Charles.
“It’s really neat being on the river with a different view of Boston and Cambridge,” Livingstone said.