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Inspired by the courage and grace of their sister Kate as she battled hydrocephalus, and frustrated by the outdated treatments and lack of awareness and research, brothers Peter and Sam Finlayson decided to turn their concern and feelings of helplessness into action.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!


Swimmer Spotlight: Ryan Purdy

We hope you had a wonderful 4th of July, full of fireworks and fun!   The freedom we celebrate certainly is a precious thing!  How lucky we are to be able to come and go as we please and take part whatever activities suit us.

But freedom is not quite as complete for a person with hydrocephalus. For at any given moment, the brain shunt they rely on for life could fail, sending them to the hospital for an emergency brain surgery!  Imagine living a life where one’s activities and plans are always confined by the possibility of life threatening medical emergency!?!

As a case in point,  just last year one of your fellow team hydro swimmers, Ryan Purdy, who also happens to live with shunt dependent hydrocephalus, was all set and ready to swim with us at Sharkfest. But the day before the swim, Ryan suddenly began getting intractable headaches. A trip to his neurosurgeon confirmed that the shunt his life depended upon, had indeed failed once again!  So while the rest of us were boarding the ferries for our escape from the rock, Ryan was entering the operating room to undergo brain surgery in an attempt to save his life! Such is the uncertain life of a person with hydrocephalus.  But the uncertainty can end, IF we find a cure!!!

Let’s do what we can to help Ryan, and others like him, by sponsoring research for this difficult condition!!

Won’t you ask a couple friends today to support you in your effort to raise funds and awareness for hydrocephalus research?

If you haven’t set up your fundraising page, you can do it here: it’s easy as american apple pie, and as impactful as a grand fireworks display!!

Happy birthday America! We salute you! We also salute  Ryan,  and all our team hydro swimmers!!  Let freedom, and freedom from the uncertainly of hydrocephalus, ring!!!

If you are uncertain how to raise funds, check out some helpful hints here:

Little Falls “Hydro Penguins” to Swim Again for Hydrocephalus!!

While many summer swim teams inspire their swimmers to challenge themselves in the pool, few also challenge themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.  The Penguins of Little Falls are one of those rare teams!

On July 9th of this year, this amazing summer swim team from Bethesda, Maryland, will once again dedicate an entire practice to raising awareness and research funds for the life-threatening condition known as hydrocephalus.  Team Hydro could not be more honored to welcome the Penguins of Little Falls, as fellow Swimmers for a Cure!

The Little Falls Swim Team first learned about the difficult condition known as hydrocephalus when one of their former teammates, Kate Finlayson, passed away from the condition in 2010.   Kate had loved being a member of the Little Falls Team for many years, and swam with vigor despite having shunts implanted in her brain to treat her hydrocephalus.  During her short life, Kate would undergo hundreds of surgeries in an attempt to keep the shunts working properly–only to die from complications of her treatment at the age of 26.  Since that time, the team has worked tirelessly to honor their fallen teammate and raise awareness and research funds for this life-threatening condition affecting over 1 million Americans!

This year’s event will mark the 4th time the Penguins have launched an effort to raise awareness and funds for Hydrocephalus.  Led by parent coordinator Joey Lampl, and an amazing coaching staff, the team of swimmers ranging in age from 6-18 has set a goal of raising $7,000 in this year’s effort!  The Team will not only swim to raise funds, but will also participate in a range of other support and awareness activities including selling “Hydrate for Hydrocephalus ” water bottles at swim meets, making cards for children in hospitals for brain surgery, attending informational events where the swimmers learn more about the condition they are seeking to eradicate.  Team Hydro celebrates and applauds each of these amazing efforts!!

Please join us in welcoming the Penguins to the ranks of Team Hydro once again!
Let’s support them as they seek to help others who are striving to live with hydrocephalus!
Let’s support them as they seek to ensure that research for this debilitating condition continues!
Let’s support them as they Swim for a Cure!

Go Team Hydro!  Go Little Falls! You are Amazing One and All!!!

To donate to the Little Falls Swim Effort, follow this link: