[Baltimore Sun] Public swim in Baltimore harbor sells out in 10 minutes

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“Harbor Splash,” likely the first public swimming event in Baltimore’s harbor for decades, sold out in 10 minutes Wednesday.

The event hosted by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore nonprofit will have 125 people aged 18 or older jump into the Baltimore Harbor in five timed sessions. A waitlist has been launched.

A group of partners and elected officials, including Mayor Brandon Scott and Comptroller Brooke Lierman, will start the event June 23 at 9:20 a.m. from a floating dock at Bond Street Wharf in Fells Point.

“The work and partnership of everyone who came together to support the Healthy Harbor Initiative are remarkable and we cannot wait to celebrate as a group alongside the public on June 23,” said Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership, in a news release.

In 2014, the Waterfront Partnership installed Mr. Trash Wheel to remove trash from rivers, and three years later, Baltimore City invested over $1 billion in sewer infrastructure repairs and upgrades, according to a news release.

Over the past five years, sanitary sewer overflows have been reduced by 76%, 5 million pounds of litter have been removed from the water, and many single-use plastics have been banned, according to the release.

In September, about 20 harbor advocates and researchers leaped into the water with pool noodles and inner tubes at Bond Street Wharf.

Routine monitoring of the harbor water shows that it’s mostly safe to swim in on dry days, but it’s recommended that people only swim at scheduled events such as Harbor Splash.

Next month, ultramarathon swimmer Katie Pumphrey intends to swim from the Chesapeake Bay up the Patapsco River and into the Inner Harbor as a celebration of clean water quality.

“We know our work is far from over, but we must start swimming,” said Michael Hankin, president and CEO of Brown Advisory and chairman of Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, in the news release. “It’s a commitment to keep working to ensure that our ecosystem thrives and that swimming in the harbor becomes a routine occurrence.”

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