Lake swimming and mental toughness

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?

This doesn’t look like a lake with a blue-green algae problem, and nobody mentioned it at Sunday’s triathlon, but that’s what the state park web site says…

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.

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2 Responses to Lake swimming and mental toughness

  1. Sandra says:

    Ewww. I’d call your doctor, or a local university that does studies on blue-green algae (like my former student Megan working on her PhD at U Michigan–well, just transferred to U of Indiana because her main faculty member left . . . )

    Good luck, I cannot believe they allowed a swim in dangerous waters! Take care.

  2. tischcaylor says:

    If she’s studying blue-green algae, sounds like she’ll have her hands full these next few years. (It’s Indiana U, btw — my alma mater).

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