At our most recent agility show there is a local river bank that a lot of the agility dogs go into to cool off and have fun in - I don't think that Kiah, Davy or Risk would go in through choice even if they wanted to, but obviously retrievers are born to go in water - the filthier the better in Yahoo's case!! As Evan doesn't get to do a lot at agility shows apart from walk around, we took him to have a play down there on the hot days so he had a chance to dry out without getting cold - and we could barely keep him out once we got nearby we were dragged towards the edge!! There were lots of dogs playing most of the time, at one point about 5 retrievers, and Evan chose to fetch anyone's ball rather than just his own - at least he brought them all back!!
I'm sure that retrievers - and most dogs really - should naturally know how to swim... not quite so much in Evan's case!! The river was of differing depths, mainly shallow enough to paddle and splash about but deeper in other places, forcing brain power to be used to go and collect his tennis ball - or anyone's. He enjoyed himself very much and did bring back his ball so keenly, but did look like he was drowning at times, poor boy did get laughed at a little bit. I think he forgot that he was supposed to know what to do naturally, and that he has two back legs as well, as only his front were the ones desperately doggy paddling - it kind of works, but its not very effective, bless him he did get better near the end of his swimming lesson!!