And, now, without further ado, the moment you've all been waiting for... photos of people swimming in canals!
Okay, I've cheated, but only just a bit! These boys are swimming in the canals of Murano, the glass-blowing island of Venice. They'd abandoned their bicycles (*see, Toto, we're not in Venice anymore!*) and their shoes, and had hit the canal, just like an ol' swimming hole.
So, the lagoon's a lot cleaner, even just a few hundred meters to the north of the city. According to a great read, The Science of Saving Venice, the microrganisms which make up the natural waste treatment system of the lagoon couldn't cope with the build-up of toxic metals and pesticide residues in the later 20th century (and only started to be cleaned up in earnest in the 1990s). What's more, the dredging of deeper channels throughout the lagoon has apparently altered the currents and the way in which it would be "flushed" twice daily by the changing tides, so parts of the lagoon now wind up getting "flushed" less than others.
Hence, swimming in canals in Murano, when it would be unthinkable in Venice. What's more, it was during high tide after heavy rains, and the water was as high and as limpid as it was gonna get. So, the boys just jumped right on in.
Literally! Some, to get as much "hang time" as possible, were taking turns jumping off the bridge!! (Don't try this at home...)