An ‘Open Swim’ in the Chicago River is in the Works for September

WTTW Article - Chicago River Swim

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WTTW News, by Alex Ruppenthal | May 17, 2019 4:17 pm

Doug McConnell has swam in New York’s Hudson River, the Boston Harbor and even the English Channel. Now he wants to make a splash in his own city.

McConnell, of Barrington, and co-organizer Don Macdonald, of Chicago, are in the final stages, they hope, of planning an “open swim” in the Chicago River.

“Nobody in their right mind can [imagine] actually swimming in [the river],” McConnell said. “But if you look at the numbers, it really has improved to the point where you can [safely] have direct exposure.”

That’s true, at least most of the time, according to advocates for the river and data tracking its improvement in recent years and over the past century. However, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has said that while the quality of Chicago-area waterways has improved, “they are not designed for swimming.”

Watch the entire WTTW interview here.


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