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John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
The Charles River Conservancy hosted the first public swim in the river in 50 years.
A group of swimmers from Education First joined hands before swimming in the Charles River Saturday.
Swimmers took the plunge from a boat dock near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.
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.
The Charles River now meets the state standards for swimming most days of the summer.
Saturday morning was the first time officials permitted a swim to be held for the general public. Getting the permit took six months.
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.
Swimmers were kept in a small roped-off area. Four lifeguards watched from the dock, and two in kayaks kept watch.
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