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Kalispell woman swims length of lake

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POLSON — Emily von Jentzen, 27, slipped into the chilly waters of Somers Bay on Flathead Lake early in the morning on July 17. Von Jentzen wasn’t just taking an early morning swim; she was attempting to be the first woman to swim across Flathead Lake.

After starting at 4:23 a.m., she reached the dock at Boettcher Park at 10:49 p.m. Von Jentzen made the swim in 18 hours and 26 seconds, and her GPS had the distance as about 33 miles. 

“I’m glad to be done,” von Jentzen said after she exited the water.

She said her shoulders really hurt the final few miles, but she made it to shore. Two pontoon boats and a kayak crewed by friends and family accompanied von Jentzen on her record-making swim.

Her crew stripped off her wet suit, wrapped her in a sleeping bag and provided her with a milkshake in a cooler nearby. A crowd of about 40 people welcomed her to Polson, including Karmyn Flanagan. Von Jentzen used her swim as a fundraiser for Flanagan, 3, a Missoula girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

Von Jentzen, a triathlete herself, is a triathlete coach and recently has been hired as assistant district attorney of Flathead County.  

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