Environmental Activist Swims in the Gowanus Canal — Again

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A boat navigates down the polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Last April, one man went where no human has really ever had a desire to go before: for a swim in the toxic Gowanus Canal. Chris Swain, a 47-year-old environmental activist and part-time acupuncturist took a dip last year to raise awareness for one of America’s most polluted waterways and to try to start an effort to clean up the superfund site.

Hey #GowanusCanal, everybody tells me you're #damagedgoods, but I don't care. Maybe I'm into that. #loveyoubaby #hurtssogood #swimwithswain

A photo posted by Christopher Swain, Swimmer (@swimwithswain) on

Though Swain described his thirty-minute swim last year as tasting “like blood, poop, ground-up grass, detergent, and gasoline,” he decided to try again this Saturday, with the goal of swimming the entire length of the 1.8-mile canal, flesh-eating bacteria and gonorrhea be damned. He achieved his goal, and according to the Daily News, even got to taste the fruits of his labor by swallowing a mouthful of canal water sewage three times. 

Here are some shots from Swain’s swim:


Gowanus Canal Swim by Gothamist
Activist Takes Another Dip in Gowanus