Q: I’ve heard the Charles River is really dirty. How is it that you can have a swimming race?
A: It is definitely true that the Charles River has a speckled past. Hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of work, however, have gone a long way to rehabilitating the river. Nonetheless, the short answer to the question of whether the Charles River is swimmable is, quite simply, “no.”
Beyond the absence of suitable swimming platforms (the river banks are rocky and liable to have broken glass) the concentration of bacteria in the river water still varies significantly, typically tied to prior rainfall. The Charles River Swimming Club, Inc. has put a number of measures into place to ensure that the race can be conducted in a safe manner. For example, we will be using predictive metrics and water samples in the days leading up to the race to ensure that the river water is safe to swim in.
Q: I want to make sure I don’t miss out on registering for the event. Do you have a mailing list?
A: Please sign up for our low-volume mailing list in order to ensure you have a chance to register.
Q: Can I register for this race on the day of the event?
A: We don't have the capabilities to process race day registrations. Historically this race has sold out several weeks before race day.
Q: Can I swim as a bandit?
A: No, we cannot allow that. By registering and becoming a USMS member swimmers obtain insurance coverage for this particular event. If we allowed people to swim without registering, we would put our ability to obtain the necessary permits and sanctioning for future swims at risk.
Q: Is there a chance the race will be canceled and, if so, how will I know?
A: Unfortunately, yes. The safety of swimmers is of utmost importance to the CRSC. If there is excessive rainfall in the days prior to the race then we will be obliged to postpone the race till the rain date. We cannot offer refunds for swimmers who are not available on the rain date. In the unlikely case that we have to cancel on both dates participants will be refunded 50% of their registration fees. Note that we cannot reimburse you for travel expenses if the race has to be canceled. Please see Policies for more information. You can get the latest information on the status of the race by visiting this website.
Q: Is there a minimum age for participating in the race?
A: Yes. Swimmers must be 18 years to enter the race.
Q: What if I cannot finish the race?
A: If this is a real concern for you leading up to the race, then we implore you to not participate! A mile-long race is a strenuous swim even for trained swimmers. If you are out on the race course, however, and feel that you will be unable to complete the race, lift your arm and wave to a kayak or the safety launch and you will be assisted to shore. Please see Policies for more information.
Q: Do I need any medical clearance?
A: All swimmers are advised to consult with their doctor before participating in any competitive sporting event.
Q: Will there be some way to store my clothes and wallet while I am swimming?
A: There will be a bag check, but please refrain from bringing valuables or leave them with a friend on shore.