Success at Boston Harbor!

Some 40 Team Hydro swimmers raced across the Boston Harbor today in one of our most successful swims to date!

Harbor HydroSharks included a developmental neurobiologist from Harvard who specializes in Hydrocephalus-related work, medical students and researchers from Harvard Medical school and MIT, industry experts at pharmaceutical companies Biogen and Genentech, competitive triathletes, nurses, employees of the Harvard Business School, and family members of Hydrocephalus patients!

Team Hydro was also well represented on the award podium, with third time Team Hydro swimmer Thomas Norris coming in second for the swim overall, and nearly 10 swimmers receiving medals in their individual age groups.

Most importantly, funding and much awareness was raised for this important cause.  (But we’re not done yet — donate here!

THANK YOU to all who made today great, and stay tuned for further updates and pictures from this wonderful event!

Team Hydro to Sponsor HANDS Innovator Awards!

Team Hydro is proud to announce it will sponsor one or more 2015 Innovator Awards through the Hydrocephalus Association Network for Discovery Science  (H.A.N.D.S).

These awards will be given to investigators who develop projects designed to further “understanding of disease mechanisms and the identification and pre-clinical testing of therapies to prevent or reverse all forms of hydrocephalus. The goal of this award initiative is to provide seed funding for bold and innovative research with the potential to transform the field of hydrocephalus through the understanding of disease mechanisms and the development of novel therapies.”

Applications for the Awards have been solicited and submitted.  Awards will be announced in mid-October!

Thank you for supporting Team Hydro  in its mission to fund  Hydrocephalus Research!!

More info on H.A.N.D.S. and the Innovator Awards can be found here:

Support the cause with a general donation here:
Note: if you’re swimming TH Boston Harbor, be sure to set up your fundraising page, or at least share this general donation link:!


Boston “Hah-bah” Swim on September 19th!

Team Hydro’s Third Annual Boston Harbor swim takes place on September 19th.  Come meet, greet, celebrate, and support the cause from around 7-11am at the finish line by the John Joseph Moakly US Courthouse!  We’d love to see you with us in the Hah-bah (as the locals say)!  Some swim spots still available, so let us know if you’d like to take the plunge:

In addition to the Hah-Bah plunge, Team Hydro swims from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco annually, and participates in other open water swims as well (including Washington DC, and Boston), to raise funds and awareness for Hydrocephalus Research. We work in conjunction with the non-profit Hydrocephalus Association, (a 401(3)c organization and are proud to report that every penny we receive from donations goes 100% to research!

Inspired by the courage and grace of their sister Kate as she battled hydrocephalus, and frustrated by the outdated treatments and lack of awareness and research, brothers Peter and Sam Finlayson decided to turn their concern and feelings of helplessness into action. With the help of friends they formed Team Hydro in 2008 and began swimming in the Sharkfest Escape from Alcatraz Open Water Swim to raise money for Research. The Team worked and grew for several years, and just months before Kate’s death, Team Hydro raised enough funds to sponsor the first ever, Team Hydro/Kate Finlayson Research Grant.

Today, Team Hydro continues the fight against Hydrocephalus in Kate’s honor (and honestly, in honor of ALL who suffer from hydrocephalus), and humbly accepts contributions toward future research grants in her name. The Finlayson Family continues to underwrite all TeamHydro expenses, so that every penny donated to Team Hydro goes directly and completely to Research!!

Why are Team Hydro Swimmers willing to jump into the water to promote Hydrocephalus Research?!


…Hydrocephalus affects over 1 million Americans and there is no Cure!

…People “survive” cancer, stroke, and traumatic brain injury, only to later DIE from resultant hydrocephalus.

…60% of children diagnosed with hydrocephalus will never live independently!

…1 in 3 shunts (the most common form of treatment) will fail within a year of implantation, requiring more brain surgery to repair/replace the device!

…Up to 20% of Older adults experiencing dementia and thought to have Alzheimer’s, may actually have a TREATABLE form of Hydrocephalus, misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness!

….Shunt implantations for hydrocephalus are the most common cause of brain surgery in children!

These facts, and more like them, are why we swim!!!
Hydrocephalus remains an incurable and under-researched condition!!
Help us make a difference!
Donate TODAY!

Thank you for helping improve the lives of millions currently living with hydrocephalus as we endeavor to fulfill Kate’s dream that one day, no more people will need to suffer and lose their lives to the difficult, life-threatening, and currently incurable condition!!

Team Hydro–Taking a bite out of Hydrocephalus—One Stroke at a Time!

To Join Us as a Swimmer–check out the pages describing our Swims and sign up! Feel free to email us:


2015 has officially marked another successful and exciting Alcatraz Crossing by Team Hydro (see photos here)!

The event was a reminder of what we can accomplish together, and a great start to our 2015 fundraising efforts — though we still have a ways to go to reach our goal for the year!

We had a number of medalists on the award podium, including Olympic Gold Medalist Jessica Steffens, hero Greg Osborn, and fan favorite Cap Damrell. Cap’s sister, Kate, also swam, and, as a person living with shunted hydrocephalus, she demonstrated the resilience and drive of the patients we swim to honor! Team Hydro was also excited to welcome Sonia Podvin, medical researcher and former recipient of the Team Hydro research grant!

Our Team included so many wonderful and dedicated swimmers, many of whom traveled long distances from all over the country — coming in from as far as Mexico, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Florida, and Utah to take the plunge! But regardless of distance traveled, the truth is that we at Team Hydro remain grateful for EVERY SINGLE ONE of our swimmers!! We could not do what we do without any one of you, and we hope you feel our appreciation for each swimmer who dons a team hydro cap, or on-land supporter who helps our cause in any way!

We’d also like to give a special shout out to first time Team Hydro swimmer Matt Menesini, who demonstrated incredible courage and poise under extreme pressure when he put his own swim and life on the line to assist others in an emergency in the open water. We are so proud of you, Matt.

To all who participated — THANK YOU SO MUCH!

2015 was also a reminder of how unpredictable the life of people living with hydrocephalus can be. Team Hydro’s 2014 top finisher, Kyle Voulgaris, was hospitalized on Thursday night due to a brain infection — prognosis is good, but he is undergoing further tests to ensure he is able to receive the best and appropriate treatments. Hopefully he’ll be back with us in 2016! This is the third straight year a Team Hydro swimmer with hydrocephalus was unable to compete due to last minute health challenges. Kyle was in our hearts as we took the plunge yesterday, and continues to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Finally, we are anticipating some exciting research news soon regarding the specific use of your hard-earned donations–so stay tuned! Thank you again for your love and support, and we hope to have you with us again in the future!

Also, don’t miss the sign-up for this year’s Boston Harbor Swim! Sign up here!

Alcatraz Swimmer Instructions

Greetings Hydrosharks!!

It’s swim week!  And what a week it will be!!  On Saturday,  each and all of our intrepid Team Hydro members will leap from the ferry into the bay to swim for hydrocephalus!!  We are so grateful for the willingness of each of you to swim on behalf of all those seeking to live with this life-threatening condition!

So here’s a few reminders for Race Day!

Pick up your special Team Hydro Cap and bracelet!  After you check-in at the maritime museum in aquatic park, look for Sam outside the building, or head to the Team Hydro table–he’ll/we’ll give you your special cap, as well as the story of and a bracelet bearing the name of a person with hydrocephalus in whose honor you can swim.  Some of our swimmers have said reading the story of a real person who has overcome such great challenges gave them the inspiration they needed to complete the swim when going got tough in the bay!

Gather with Team Hydro at the Team Hydro table prior to the race Announcements–we’ll psych each other up, listen to the announcements, give you some extra pointers, and walk together to the ferries!

Remember to take the team Hydro Ferry which will be the one on the left when facing Alcatraz!  We’ll cheer each other on during the ride– and make sure all feel comfortable and ready to leap into the bay for a GREAT and IMPORTANT cause!

Following the Race, don’t forget to head back to the Team Hydro table for hot chocolate, fruit, power bars, and friendship!  Be ready to be congratulated by teammates, and on-land supporters while you recount YOUR escape from Alcatraz!
By now you should have received the race information email from the Sharkfest folks.  Be sure to read it.

If you have ANY questions regarding the swim, do not hesitate to email us at  Having swum the race a number of times, we’d be more than happy to answer any questions or give advice!

Mostly, thanks so much for swimming with Team Hydro!  If you haven’t done so already, it is not too late to set up a fundraising page and collect some money  to support hydrocephalus research!  CLICK HERE

See you bright and early on Saturday!

What we do matters!

Need some motivation to get you through these last few weeks of training, or need to be inspired that your effort to raise funds and awareness for this cause is is really making a difference?

One Million Lives

Take a look at  these stories about REAL people attempting to live with Hydrocephalus:
  • Sweet baby Gabriel died of Hydrocephalus when he was just a few weeks old, because his doctors didn’t recognize and treat his condition in time.
  • Amanda‘s shunt has failed more times than she can remember causing her to have to drop out of a normal high school program and forced her study at home alone instead.
  • Katie suddenly developed a difficult to manage  seizure disorder as a result of her hydro, and now lives in fear, not only of shunt malfunctions, but the seizures they cause as well.
  • Priscilla, the first woman ever to be named to the Law Review at Harvard Law School, died prematurely of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (which would have been treatable!) and spent her last years in unnecessary mental and physical decline — all because doctors, who did not know enough about NPH, misdiagnosed her problems as being due to Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Ryan hoped to swim with us last year, but his Hydrocephalus was acting up so he needed to stay home near his neurosurgeon instead; he hopes to rejoin Team Hydro in 2016
  • John died of a brain infection after undergoing surgery to fix his broken shunt.
  • Our own sister Kate suffered through close to 200 brain surgeries before she finally passed from hydrocephalus.
These stories represent just a few of the people for whom we swim!!
Every life is important!!  WE need a cure now!!!  WE need to help each of the over 1 million Americans struggling with their own stories.

YOU can swim on behalf of someone too!

On race day, all swimmers will be given a hospital bracelet with the name of a person with Hydrocephalus, along with his/her personal story.  If you desire, you may wear this hospital bracelet as you dedicate your swim to this courageous person.

And a Perk for our swimmer-heroes! 🙂

Any swimmer who sets up a fundraising page and raises two donations (of any size) will receive a free Team Hydro T-shirt on race day.  Additionally, all swimmers will have access to our snacks at the start and finish.

As always, the link to set up your fundraising page is here




Thanks, and go Team Hydro!

Guest Post: “Swimming For Hydrocephalus” – Ethan Taswell, Little Falls Swim Coach

We couldn’t be more thrilled at yet another successful swim by the Little Falls Penguins!

Ethan Taswell, former swimmer and current coach at Little Falls wrote on the experience as follows:

Swimming with patients’ wristbands and in matching purple Team Hydro caps, the Little Falls Swim and Dive Team came together as one to raise spirits, awareness and funds to combat Hydrocephalus. A whiteboard reading “1 mile=64 lengths. How far will you swim?”  stood perched at the end of the lanes, and the team took this challenge to heart, diving in and swimming across the pool with purpose. Despite the threat of thunder in the afternoon, we were honored to see record turnout in our fourth year of this tradition. The unofficial numbers are in, with 104 Penguins swimming for a total of 9253 lengths (the equivalent of 231,325 meters), or over 144 miles.

We were thrilled this year to witness pre-teamers as young as four-years-old join the fight against Hydrocephalus.  With great determination these youngsters used their kickboards to complete many more laps than surely they have ever done before.  Tremendous maturity from kids of all ages was also displayed throughout the course of this year’s fundraiser, starting with a pep rally conversation about Little Falls’ own Kate Finlayson, and carrying through to card decoration for those in the hospital and the reading of real-life personal stories.  In addition, special recognition goes out to 11-year-olds Eli Glickman and James Marder, who each swam over 500 lengths to benefit the cause.

Our hope is that in the coming days and weeks, the donations will continue to roll in, so that we not only reach our goal of $7,000, but surpass it.


Thank you Ethan and all the Little Falls Penguins!

You can support them in their goal of raising $7,000 for Hydrocephalus research by clicking here!!!

Read more about the Penguins and their generous new tradition here.


Go Little Falls and Go Team Hydro!


Penguins Lead Another Successful Swim!

For the fourth consecutive year, the mighty Little Falls Penguins have lead an incredibly successful swim fundraiser for Hydrocephalus research and awareness.

Working in memory of their fallen teammate and in honor of Hydrocephalus patients worldwide, 96 swimmers swam 125 miles in the swim.  Each swimmer wore on his or her wrist a hospital band with the name of a former patient who battled with the condition.  The generous swimmers also wrote dozens of cards to share with patients currently battling Hydrocephalus in the hospital.

Support them in their goal of raising $7,000 for Hydrocephalus research by clicking here!!!

Read more about the Penguins and their generous new tradition here.

Little Falls Penguins Leading the Charge Once Again!

Today, the wonderful Little Falls Penguins — a swim club in Maryland and former home to Team Hydro inspiration Kate Finlayson — is rallying together and engaging in a Swim Fundraiser for Hydrocephalus!  This is in follow-up to a successful fundraiser last week at Chipotle, in which the team raised nearly $1000 — well on their way to their goal of raising $7,000 for Hydrocephalus this year.

Let’s all give a cheer and support for this wonderful team.

Thank you, Little Falls!  And good luck with your swim today and with the rest of your season!