Dad Crosses Continent to Swim for Son with Hydrocephalus!

For many Alcatraz swimmers, crossing the San Francisco Bay is an adventure of a lifetime.  But for proud Dad, Chris Haslett, his Alcatraz swim may well seem a small one in a series of challenges.  Chris’ 7 year old son, Lake, is living with shunted hydrocephalus, which means the Haslett family is no stranger to meeting daily challenges with courage and strength. Chris is proving his resolve yet again by traveling all the way from Grimsby, Ontario, Canada to swim with Team Hydro, to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!

The Haslett family began its journey with hydrocephalus in 2009, when, at only 7 weeks of age, Chris’ son, Lake, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus caused by an inoperable Glioma brain tumor. While the tumor was benign, it was imperative that the hydrocephalus be treated by the placement of a shunt in Lake’s brain, as the pressure from the increasing hydrocephalus was life-threatening.  The brain shunt worked well for 8 months. Then the device failed, causing Lake to need more brain surgery to replace the broken shunt. This began a series of complications that are all too common for hydrocephalus patients, including a surgery which caused Lake to suffer a severe brain bleed.  That complication then required additional surgeries to ensure Lake’s shunt remained working properly.

FYI–Statistics show that half of shunts fail within 2 years–the shunt is the most prone to failure medical device implanted in humans!

The above scenario would be plenty to discourage most families, but not the Hasletts.  They have continued to face and meet challenges through the years, until Lake, who continues to live with both his (still benign) tumor and  his shunt, is  now a lively and happy 7 year old boy, who loves swimming, making music on the piano, and playing with his brother, Oak!

But first hand experience with the reality that life-threatening shunt failure can occur at any moment, and awareness of the fact that hydrocephalus has no cure, has caused Chris Haslett to realize the desperate need for hydrocephalus research to continue.  He is swimming Alcatraz to help push that research forward!!  

We are so proud to welcome Chris (and his family) as members of Team Hydro!  We are so impressed and grateful by their willingness to come all the way from Canada to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!  

We look forward to meeting Chris, his wife Helena, and sons Oak and Lake in San Francisco on June 4th!  

If you would like to help Chris and his family find a cure for hydrocephalus you can donate to Team Hydro and  support the cause HERE!

Lake Haslett Collage

Team Hydro prepares for 10th Annual Alcatraz Swim!

After weathering record-breaking rainfall over the winter, the San Francisco Bay is deeper and colder than ever–making conditions even more unpredictable and exciting for Team Hydro’s 10th Annual Alcatraz Swim for Hydrocephalus on Sunday, June 4th!

This year’s Team Hydro Alcatraz Team will feature 100 brave Team Hydro swimmers, each of whom will be jumping off the ferry and into the churning bay — not simply for the “street cred” which comes from completing an Alcatraz swim — but to raise funds and awareness for Hydrocephalus Research!

Team Hydro athletes swim to help others —and we ARE making an impact!! Team Hydro is currently funding hydrocephalus research at leading centers around the world (from the US to Australia!), and we look forward to raising enough funds to support more future projects from our 2017 swims!

Returning to the swim will be hydrocephalus patients Kyle Voulgaris and Kate Damrell, who demonstrate, not simply through their swimming, but every single day, the resilience and fortitude of those living with shunted hydrocephalus! Both of these young people have endured numerous brain surgeries and live with the ever-present uncertainty of looming life-threatening medical emergency.

Team Hydro is also thrilled to be welcoming first-time Alcatraz swimmer, Chris Haslett from Ontario, Canada who will be swimming in honor of his 7 year old son, Lake, who has been living with shunted hydrocephalus since he was an infant (more about this remarkable family coming soon)! We are also grateful our Masters and regular Sharkfest swimmers, as well as our amazing crew of returning swimmers! Team Hydro is so proud of ALL of our swimmers–and on-land supporters! We happily and gratefully welcome Each and All to the Team Hydro Family!

But Team Hydro is only as successful as the amount of research we sponsor–
AND we need to RAISE FUNDS to sponsor research!

Remember –every penny we raise from our swims will go directly to fund important research!!

It only takes a minute to set up your personal fund-raising page!!
Set up a page now (or make a donation) at!!!

Let’s make 2017 an amazing year!!
Go TEAM Hydro!!!

Video on our quest to cure post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus

While our work at Team Hydro includes efforts to prevent and cure all forms of Hydrocephalus, this most recent campaign, which represents a new major scientific effort, is particularly dear to our hearts!

Team Hydro is proud to stand with Craig and Vicki Brown in conjunction with the Hydrocephalus Association in our quest to cure Post-Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus.

Check out the video below!

Boston Harbor Swim a Huge Success!

The sun was shining and the skies a brilliant blue as over 50 intrepid Team Hydro swimmers, paddlers and volunteers gathered on the Boston waterfront among 390 other swimmers and their families to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research.

Much like the lives of the hydrocephalus patients we seek to honor, the waters of the harbor were filled with unexpected turbulence and challenge for swimmers and paddlers alike. Undaunted however, Team Hydro swimmers raced to the finish, raising loads of awareness and funds for the cause along the way. The team — consisting of folks from all walks of life: MIT swim team members, Harvard med students, nurses, fathers, grandmas, and even a cerebrospinal fluid researcher — made a real impact at the swim answering question after question about the cause which unites them from the large crowd and group of other swimmers at the event. The swimmers also raised funds, helping Team Hydro raise over $51,000 this summer, 100% of which will go directly to support hydrocephalus research!

Team Hydro swimmers demonstrated the depth of their swimming strength as well by finishing strong in the race as well. One swimmer placed 3rd overall in the event of over 350 swimmers (including an Olympian), several other team hydro members stood on the podium in their age groups as well. The Team Hydro crowd on land was medal worthy as well, keeping spirits high and having a great time greeting swimmers at the finish!

Team Hydro is so proud of each and every swimmer, volunteer, and on land supporter– we thank each and every one who joined us today– a great time time in support of a great cause was had by all!!

Team Hydro to Cross the Boston HAHBAH on Saturday!

The Boston Harbor may be best known for an important tea-dumping incident which took place almost 250 years ago, but next Saturday, this very same harbor will be the site of another life-changing event– the TEAM HYDRO SWIM for HYDROCEPHALUS!!

That’s right, on Saturday, October 17, 2016, intrepid swimmers from Team Hydro will once again leap into the frigid waters of the HAHBAH, amidst strong currents, lobster traps, tall ships, and schooners, to swim in support of Hydrocephalus Research!

Hydrocephalus, a life-threatening neurologic condition affecting the brain for which there is NO CURE, affects almost 1 million americans! And yet awareness and research for this devastating condition is severely lacking! Team Hydro is a group of swimmers and on-land supporters seeking to put an end to hydrocephalus by funding important cure-based research! Every penny the TEAM raises will go directly to fund research coordinated through the Hydrocephalus Association, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit.

If you are swimming with us Saturday, remember we will meet at the Team Hydro Area on the grass by the Joseph A Moakley US Couthouse, where the race ends! Race registration is right near by, and it will take place from 9:30-10:30.

The TEAM HYDRO Team Area is the place you will be able to pick up your t-shirt and special TEAM HYDRO SWIM CAP (race-sanctioned especially for our swimmers). We will also have snacks, a place to keep your gear, and will be a place for friends and family to gather as well.

Most importantly, we will be sharing the stories of and handing out special bracelets honoring people who are living with or who have passed from hydrocephalus. We invite all or our swimmers (and on-land supporters too!) to read a story, put on a bracelet, and dedicate your swim (or day) to someone who knows what it is like to face challenges and uncertainty every single day!

See you at the HAHBAH!


2016 Alcatraz Swim — another success!


The spirit of love and compassion was strong again this year as we rallied together in support of this great cause.  Hugs were shared and tears were shed as we reflected on the lives of those no longer with us, and the uncertainty that those still here face.  We won’t rest until people no longer need to suffer at the hands of hydrocephalus.  A photo of the team shortly before boarding the ferry is below!

Much more to follow, but a few highlights we wanted to call out from today…in no particular order!

  • Kyle Voulgaris placed 7th overall…out of ~1,000 swimmers!
  • Kate Damrell was joined by her older brother AND both parents!  Kate ROCKED it, and she’s excited to have her younger brother swim with us in 2017!
  • Kate and Kyle are two of our swimmers living with hydrocephalus!
  • Sonia Podvin, the researcher who received the very first Team Hydro grant, made the trip from warm San Diego to brave the freezing cold waters of San Francisco!!
  • The Team Hydro roster included two Australian blokes, and a wonderful man from Columbia — they found us online!  It is so inspiring to see the global reach of our efforts…and it was cool to share about the research we are supporting at Piper Lab at the University of Queensland!
  • Greg Osborn (cancer survivor, vietnam vet, with multiple artificial joints) completed the swim for his 7th(!) time this year.  Incredible man!
  • Kate Finlayson’s mom Pam swam again this year, carrying her daughter in her heart.  Such an inspiration to us all!

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from the freezing waters off the rocky shores of Alcatraz!  🙂


The Day Has Arrived…!

On the eve of our ninth Alcatraz swim, we cannot help but be grateful for all the love and support from so many for so long. We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress!

Team Hydro cant wait to see all our Swimmers and Onland Supporters on the shores of Aquatic Park in SF on Saturday as we make our 9th Annual crossing of the Bay in support of hydrocephalus!! Here’s a reminder of the key milestones for tomorrow:

6:30–7:55AM: ATHLETE CHECK-IN at Aquatic Park Maritime Museum. Come to the Team Hydro Banner before and after checking-in!
~7:55AM: TEAM HYDRO PHOTO by the banner!
8:10AM: Athletes WALK TO THE FERRY from Aquatic to the Blue and Gold Ferry at Pier 41.
8:50AM: FERRY DEPARTS. Miss the ferry, miss the swim!
9:30AM: Race start is signaled by the SECOND ferry horn blast.

On-land Supporters can Look for our Swimmers in our special Team Hydro caps to begin making it to shore between: 10am–10:45am
You can make a contribution here:

We cant wait to see our swimmers, and on-land supporters by the Team Hydro Banner in Aquatic Park!!

Why on Earth Would Team Hydro Swimmers Escape from Alcatraz?!

“Whooo!–Wow–What a rush!!” Those were the words of one first-time Team Hydro swimmer after he jumped into the bay to begin his first Alcatraz Escape for Hydrocephalus!! And no wonder! It is NO ordinary thing to make the swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco across the bay!!


Indeed, in order to complete this treacherous swim, our Hydrosharks need jump into the freezing cold bay from a ferry rocking in the waves! Our swimmers then brave freezing water temperatures and fight a fierce and mounting tide as they make their way ,stroke by stroke across the churning bay to a shore, almost 2 miles away!!


Why would anyone even attempt such a thing?!


We at Team Hydro have very good reason–we swim for great cause–to raise awareness and fund for Hydrocephalus Research!!


Saturday, August 13, over a 100 members of our intrepid group will once again attempt the Escape! We cant wait to gather on the shore of aquatic Park to join together in our desire to FIND a CURE for Hydrocephalus!


We look forward to seeing all our swimmers and on-land supporters by the Team Hydro Banner at Aquatic Park on Saturday!


Swimmer check-in: 6:30-7:55am
Gather at the Team Hydro Banner after checking in at race headquarters.


Walk to Ferries begins at 8:10am. Team Hydro swimmers take the ferry on the left!


Race begins at 9:30. (Signaled by 2nd ferry blast).


Swimmers to shore: 10-10:45 am!!


See YOU at the Team Hydro Banner!!