"Swimming in the Charles River, like playing in the street, is something generations of Boston children have been taught will lead to no good. At the very least, to a tetanus shot," writes Billy Baker.
"But 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, and now meeting the state standards for swimming most days of the summer. The bottom of the river remains a toxic mess, but if a swimmer can get in and out of the water without touching the squishy bottom, no tetanus shot is necessary."
"Over the past eight years, a group called the Charles River Swim Club has hosted a 1-mile race for elite swimmers, but Saturday morning was the first time officials permitted a swim to be held for the general public," notes Baker. "Getting the permit took six months."