By Steve Annear
THE BOSTON GLOBE
Wednesday marked the first official day of spring, which, for the more optimistic, means that summer is just a few months around the corner — lingering March snow piles be damned.
To herald the change of the seasons, the Charles River Conservancy and the Charles River Swimming Club announced this week they’ve combined forces to host Charles River Swimming Day, a daylong celebration where people can plunge into the city’s biggest tea-colored swimming pool.
On Saturday, June 15, the conservancy will revive its annual City Splash event — it went on hiatus in 2018 — at the Fiedler Dock along the Esplanade. That same day, earlier in the morning, the swimming club will host its 11th annual 1-mile swim down the river.
It’s the first time the two events have ever been held on the same day, and to top it off, Charles River Swimming Day will include an after party across the river, in Cambridge, officials said.
“We’re really excited to bring back City Splash and looking forward to combining the two events to have a full day of river swimming,” said Laura Jasinski, executive director of the conservancy. “There’s certainly some benefit for us to be able to share resources and the date to get people swimming, whether you’re an athlete and want to do the 1-mile swim or just do it casually at the dock.”
Jasinski said due to its popularity in the past, additional time slots will probably be added to the City Splash event so more people can hop into the water. The event is also being hosted on a Saturday so that people don’t need to rush out of work to take a dip, as they did in years past.
The conservancy also is trying to put together a celebrity cannonball competition, though plans for the contest haven’t been finalized.
“It’ll be the culminating splash event for City Splash,” Jasinski said. “We’re working on finding some VIPs for that.”
The dual swimming event in the river, which received an “A-” grade for bacterial water quality from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017, is a partnership between the conservancy, the swimming club, and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Leo Roy, commissioner of the department, said in a statement that Governor Charlie Baker’s administration “strives to foster strong partnerships with stakeholders” like the conservancy and the swimming club to make these types of events possible.
“Importantly,” he said, “Charles River Swimming Day provides a unique experience for Massachusetts residents and visitors alike to access the Charles River during this community event.”
Last year, for the first time in five years, the Charles River Conservancy put City Splash on hold so it could focus on bringing a permanent, seasonal swimming location to the river.
In 2016, the nonprofit unveiled plans for a floating dock at North Point Park, near the Zakim bridge, so swimmers could jump into the river more than just once a year. The project is still in its early stages, however.
“We’re still developing design drawings, learning some precedents from other parts of the world, and working on an operations plan on who can use the facility and how to program it and how to operate it,” Jasinski said.
In the meantime, a double-dose of Charles River swimming in June will have to suffice.
Registration for City Splash will begin in May, officials said. Sign-ups for the 1-mile swim opens Thursday, March 21, and is capped at 200 swimmers, according to event details. Participants may sign up for both events.