In the depths of a Melbourne winter, when it’s 4.6C on the bank and 6C in the river, the true believers gather

I asked my friend if she wanted to come swimming in the Yarra/Birrarung – near the city – as dawn broke last week.

“It’s safe, they test!” I said. She paused, and for a second I thought she would join me in this foolhardiness. Then she replied: “That’s like saying drinking your own piss is safe.”

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