Claudia Reutercrona: Swimming Through Adversity


Claudia Reutercrona and her father after his stroke. Photo credited to Reutercrona.

Noelle Misterek, Reporter

In the final days of her freshmen year, Claudia Reutercrona’s dad Chris had a severe stroke. For Claudia, the following summer was a hazy blur of hospital visits and prayers that her father would make it through. Though Chris has since improved significantly, he will never fully recover. Life has completely transformed not only for him, but also for Claudia.

“It’s put a lot of extra pressure on me, as well as on my sister, with my parents being divorced,” said Reutercrona. “It’s doing a lot of things you don’t usually expect to do for your father as a child.” As a result, Reutercrona’s life is “even crazier”, because her dad’s health always has to come first.

Reutercrona often has to drop everything she is doing to do things for Chris. The stroke changed his ability to socialize, so he often gets upset or angry. However, Reutercrona said that he usually responds only positively to her.

It’s put a lot of extra pressure on me, as well as on my sister, with my parents being divorced.”

— Claudia Reutercrona

Life wasn’t a breeze for Reutercrona before the tragic incident. She is a devoted varsity swimmer for the PHS swim and dive team, an exemplary student with 3 AP classes, and a Younglife student leader. Since her dad’s stroke, she has stayed committed to all of these activities, approaching obstacles with just as much, if not more, passion and determination than before.

“I’ve always loved being in the water and my dad instilled my sister and I with a love of swimming and being physically active.” Reutercrona said.

She continues to swim not only for herself and for her team, but also for her dad. Through all of her adversity, Reutercrona never wavers in her positivity and work ethic. Her teammates have noticed that she seems as focused as ever, in spite of everything going on.

She has an aura about her that makes her such a rock in our friend group.”

— Anna Marshall

“When Claudia swims, she is very determined. She goes straight at what she wants. That is demonstrated through her life, when we have homework or anything; first thing she gets it done. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go get it,” said Betsy Brunkow, a close friend of Reutercrona’s.

To her friends and her teammates, Reutercrona is irreplaceable. Rather than allowing the hardships with her dad to weaken her, she faces each day and its challenges with just as much drive. Her enthusiasm is an inspiration to her friends.

“She has an aura about her that makes her such a rock in our friend group”, said junior Anna Marshall.

Reutercrona has been obliged to the responsibility of parenting her own parent for the past year and a half. Such responsibility is unimaginable for most students, but it brings her great joy. Just getting to spend time with her dad makes her happy, and helping people has become part of who she is. She plans on keeping a tight bond with her dad as they face this difficult recovery together in the years to come.

“Even though all of it is really hard, my dad was always such a wonderful parent to me, so being able to do a lot for him really makes me feel good, like I can help him for all the times he’s helped me,” said Reutercrona.