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He dreams of an pristine ocean clean and pure …

June 1, 2011

… but he swims in one with beer cans, six-pack-wrappers and oil slicks as far as the (goggled) eye can see.

Marblehead’s Christopher Swain is a Dad who wants his daughters to see a world that’s becoming more and more beautiful, not one that’s declining into an abyss of ecological abuse and neglect. His background in Marblehead includes sailing and coming from a nautical family. In college he majored in film and French literature. He has a masters degree in Acupuncture. And he founded The Human Rights Company.

Christopher Swain is also the first person to ever swim the entire length of the Columbia River (1,243 miles) and the Hudson River (343 miles). He also has swum the length of Lake Champlain, the Charles River (the grossest one  in his opinion) and Mystic River, plus he has headed up a United Nations effort for their Decade for the Water campaign, entitled “Blessing the Waters,” with Native Americans.

He says that he is not a fast swimmer and has never swum competitively. “The skill I have is an ability to take a beating.” And to keep going no matter what. He has stroked through nuclear waste (The Daily Item, 5/31/11), had his skin burned by water-born chemicals, and, as mentioned above, battled constant litter as he swims into history.

He is devoted to educating people about how the stuff we throw out or spread on our lawns, the chemicals that leak out of our cars and factories affect the vital oceans of the planet. He tries to show people how our oceans are more polluted than people think. He takes pH readings and temperature readings in cooperation with NOAA and he shares information with the EPA if he finds something especially awful in the water.

Like a runner among passing cars fighting through cigarette smoke and engine emissions, Swain says, “After rain, I can smell and taste everything that was on the street.” (Some of the wash-offs are unmentionable in this article.)

Christopher Swain has spoken to school children in the area including at the Johnson School on Nahant. Surrounded by water, these island children seemed especially interested.

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