Should I be concerned that I swallowed water at least three times (that I know of) during Sunday’s triathlon swim in a lake the Indiana Department of Natural Resources lists as having 10 times the level of potentially deadly blue-green algae considered high enough to issue an alert?
That’s the question I e-mailed the DNR yesterday. I’m still awaiting a response, but I’m not really too worried, given that I’ve experienced no symptoms and the water where we swam seemed, if anything, exceptionally clear and weed-free.
I do remember Traci exclaiming in horror at the green sludge in a shallow stagnant area we drove by on our way to the beach at Worster Lake at Potato Creek State Park near South Bend. I’m guessing those are the areas where the algae is concentrated. I’m also guessing, from what I’ve read, that the algae is less active in chilly weather like we experienced on Sunday.
One of the challenging aspects of this for me — assuming that I don’t develop paralysis, slurred speech or other symptoms a few weeks from now, like the guy in this Atlantic piece about the increasing problem of this proliferating algae — is that I’m a lake weenie by nature, easily creeped out by living bodies of water and preferring to swim in chlorinated pools.
It’s easier to avoid problems that seem too icky to deal with. But I like the idea that triathlons might make me more environmentally conscious and mentally tougher at the same time.