Photo credit Carly Garrison

KALISPELL (AP) — A Montana attorney has become the first person to swim the length of the West’s largest freshwater lake and back.

The 56-mile feat took 34-year-old Emily von Jentzen 40 hours, and she had to fight through headwinds and high waves to do it.

Von Jentzen set off Saturday morning from Somers on Flathead Lake’s northern shore. That night, she arrived in Polson on the south shore, where 35-year-old John Cole was waiting to swim with her on the return trip.

They encountered waves so high that the crew in their support boat became sick and had to be replaced.

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They finally emerged from the water in Somers on Sunday night.

Von Jentzen also was the first woman to swim the length of Flathead Lake in 2010. Cole became the sixth person to do so.