Christopher Swain of Eugene, Ore., plans to swim all 1,243 miles of the Columbia River to call attention to what he describes as “a contaminated beauty.” The feds are now investigating the river for sources of mercury and other nasties. Swain, who works for Columbia Riverkeeper, will embark on the 160-day swim next summer; in the meantime, he’s in fundraising mode, trying to raise $1 million for protection of the river. The Columbia won’t be the first river Swain has practiced his backstroke on: In 1996, he swam 210 miles from Vermont to the Atlantic Ocean to raise the public profile of the Connecticut River.