Charles River opens for first public swim since 1950s ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page John Tlumacki/Globe Staff The Charles River Conservancy hosted the first public swim in the river in 50 years. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff A group of swimmers from Education First joined hands before swimming in the Charles River Saturday. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Swimmers took the plunge from a boat dock near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Since 1995, when the EPA gave the water quality a grade of D, the health of the river has improved dramatically, rising to a B in 2011. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff The Charles River now meets the state standards for swimming most days of the summer. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Saturday morning was the first time officials permitted a swim to be held for the general public. Getting the permit took six months. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Over the course of two hours, about two dozen swimmers at a time took their turn jumping from the dock into the 78-degree water. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Swimmers were kept in a small roped-off area. Four lifeguards watched from the dock, and two in kayaks kept watch.