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Charles River swimming events slated for Saturday canceled for entire summer

A scene from April on the Esplanade with the Charles in the background. This year people are going to have to stick to jogging. The “City Splash” swimming event has been canceled.
A scene from April on the Esplanade with the Charles in the background. This year people are going to have to stick to jogging. The “City Splash” swimming event has been canceled. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

After two weeks of heavy rainfall and one postponement, the “City Splash” event, which offers people the chance to swim in the Charles River, has been canceled.

The event was rescheduled from June 15 to Saturday due to heavy rains and the additional pollutants runoff brings into the river, the Globe reported. Now, it has been completely canceled due to the same reason, according to an e-mail sent to would-be participants Friday afternoon.

“We are so disappointed that we have to cancel City Splash this year, especially since it was going to be the best yet with free, family-friendly dry-land activities,” Laura Jasinski, executive director of the Charles River Conservancy, which hosts City Splash, said in a statement, “but we want to err on the side of caution when it comes to reintroducing swimming to the Charles.”

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The Charles River Swimming Club’s annual 1-mile swim, which was slated to be hosted with City Splash, was canceled for the year as well.

State Department of Public Health regulations state that in the 48 hours before a swim, rainfall needs to stay under a half-inch of accumulation due to the potential impact on water quality, the two organizations said in a statement. With the recent string of rainy, dreary days, a permit for Saturday’s swim could not be issued.

The cancellation was not due to the river’s recent EPA grade drop from an A- to a B last year, although the two are connected to issues caused by rainfall, the organizations said. That grade is based on a yearly average.

The swim cannot be rescheduled later in the summer due to Fourth of July preparations on the Esplanade, which start on Sunday, and due to the increased risk of algae blooms closer to August, the organizations said.

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“We should be disappointed that we can’t swim tomorrow,” Jasinski said. “We should also be disappointed that we can’t swim every day in the summer. And the CRC is working to change that.”

All tickets will be refunded for City Splash and the mile swim, the organizations said. About 300 people bought tickets for the swim and about 200 for the mile, the Globe reported. The organizations still plan on hosting their events next year.


Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.