Kalispell Woman Becomes First Person to Swim Lake Chelan

By Beacon Staff

Shortly before 4 a.m. Pacific Standard Time Friday morning, Emily von Jentzen, 28, of Kalispell became the first person ever to swim the length of chilly Lake Chelan in northern Washington, according to an email from her brother. Von Jentzen started on Wednesday and completed the roughly 55-mile swim in 36 hours.

I wrote a story about von Jentzen in early August and was eager to see how she would do in her quest not only to complete the swim but also to raise funds for Katelyn Roker, a 5-year-old Kalispell girl battling high-risk, Stage-4 neuroblastoma. Congratulations to her. It’s an amazing accomplishment and I know she trained hard for this moment.

During the swim, von Jentzen’s older brother Paul sent out update emails to supporters and news organizations as he received information from boat crews accompanying her, although she was never allowed to touch a boat to make the record official. Below is an excerpt from Paul’s last email from this morning. It’s pretty neat to see his excitement immediately after hearing the news.

At 3:51 am PDT, after 36 hours of swimming, Emily von Jentzen swam to shore in Chelan, WA and became the first person to swim the length of Lake Chelan.

I am INCREDIBLY proud, humbled, and inspired by my AMAZING little sister with her strength, determination, and enormous heart!! Well done Emily!!

Thank you all again so much for your support and encouragement!!

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