By Staff

CONCORD (CBS) – Starting Friday, open water swimmers will once again be welcome at Walden Pond.

The open waters will come one week after the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation restricted swimming to marked areas, a move which came after a recent spate of drownings in Massachusetts.

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Open water swimmers will be asked to swim only before and after lifeguard shifts which are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“It should be everyone’s choice of how they want to swim,” said swimmer Chris Starnes of Bedford. “Just practice sun safety and swim safety and do the best you can.”

The change, DCR said, will “ensure that open water swimming is available to experienced swimmers while prioritizing safety for swimmers, lifeguards, and visitors to the waterfront.”

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Additionally, open water swimmers will be asked to use open water swim buoys for visibility, enter and exit through an open water swim lane and to maintain a distance of 100 feet from the boat launch and 50 feet from all boats or fishermen.

“The fact that I have my lovely little floatation device, I’m not worried about anyone or anything,” said swimmer Angela Schatz of Arlington. “I think these are an excellent idea. It doesn’t bother anybody when they’re swimming, it doesn’t slow you down.”

After Labor Day, open water swimming will again be allowed whenever.

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“If they’re going to ban that maybe they should close down bars or ban bicycles on the road,” swimmer John Carey said. “I guess you have to take what you can get. I don’t love the new rules.” Staff