Little Falls Swims Again!

  Penguins to Swim for Hydrocephalus in 2016!

That’s right!  On July 14th of this year the Little Falls Swim Team of Bethesda, Maryland will take to the water  to Swim for Hydrocephalus Research for an amazing 5th year in a row!  

This phenomenal group of age-group swimmers, coaches (and parents) will generously put aside their individual and team goals on this day as they dedicate one whole practice to raising awareness and research funds in support of those currently living with hydrocephalus!  The team also swims in of a former teammate who passed from complications of this devastating disease!

In addition to completing the Swim, and raising funds, throughout the summer, (under the guidance of parent coordinator Sarah Farnsworth),  the Team will take part in all sort of activities designed to increase the Teams understanding of the condition and to spread awareness in the community and beyond.  They will be:  learning about hydrocephalus, hearing stories about and wearing bracelets in memory or honor of children and adults with the condition, making cards for patients in hospitals around the country, selling “hydrate for hydrocephalus” water bottles at meets, and generally spreading the word of the critical need for increased hydrocephalus research!

Team Hydro could not be more  proud of this great group of swimmers, coaches and parents!  We are honored to have Penguins in our Team Hydro family!!

We wish you great luck in your season, and in your efforts to support Hydrocephalus Research! 

Go Team Hydro! Go Little Falls! 

Together, let’s FUND a cure!

To learn more about the Little Falls Swim for Hydrocephalus, see the Little Falls page on this site.

You can Donate to the Penguin Swim here:

Team Hydro Research Update!!

Team Hydro remains proud that every penny we raise through our swims goes directly to research! (And we mean every penny–as we ensure our costs are underwritten through other means).
As the 2016 swim season begins, and we gear up to find sponsors for our swims, we’d like to mention some of the important research  Team Hydro dollars are already working to benefit!
When reviewing projects for sponsorship, Team Hydro seeks out research looking to find cure-based, or non-surgical treatments for hydrocephalus. We are proud to be working with some of the most cutting-edge labs in the world, both here in the United States, and one as far away as Australia!
Right now, thanks to Team Hydro swimmers, on-land supporters, and donors:
Researchers  at Washington University in St Louis, are looking at how specific drugs reduce the neuroinflamation that occurs following a brain hemorrhage, in hopes of preventing hydrocephalus from developing in patients like Kate (whose illness inspired team hydro), and sweet 5 year old Lilly, from the Dorset Dolphin Team!
Scientists at University of Illinois at Chicago, who have already made important discoveries leading to better understanding of fluid exchange in the brain, are seeking to develop a (non-surgical) molecular shunt for curing hydrocephalus.
At Indiana University/Purdue U, Indiana, a team of researchers are on the way to developing what could very well be the first drug treatment for hydrocephalus.
Finally, research being done at an amazing center in Queensland, Australia is providing crucial insights into the molecular formulation of hydrocephalus– they created a new technique which studies how changes in specific neural cells cause hydrocephalus to develop as the brain develops. This important work is paving the way for even more new strategies and treatments designed to ameliorate this difficult condition once and for all!
Team Hydro is grateful to each and every one of our swimmers, donors, and researchers–
Thanks to YOU, we are certain that one day, a CURE will be found!!


Welcome Team Hydro 2016…and, Sharks and Dolphins to Unite!

The summer months are upon us, and with them comes Swim Season!!! Team Hydro is thrilled to announce that we will once again be participating in BOTH the Sharkfest Alcatraz Escape (sold out) and the Boston Harbor (sign up here) Open Water Swims in our attempt to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!
Team Hydro will also be sponsoring several other swim-related events for Hydrocephalus, including a new event with the Dorset Dolphin Swim Team of East Cobb County, Georgia!  (You can donate to their cause HERE!)
This amazing group of swimmers from the Dorset Community Swim Team will hold the:  
Dolphin Dashswim for hydrocephalus on June 11!  In this new event, members of this age-group swim team will join together (with any willing parents and friends) to swim as many miles they can while raising much needed awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!
As they swim, the team will be especially thinking of two members of their own team who are currently living with shunted hydrocephalus–5 year old, Lilly, and 7-year old Parker!!  
More info on the event and this incredible swim team will follow–In the meantime, 
Team Hydro proudly welcomes the Dorset Dolphins to our Team Hydro Family!!  
We are so proud and grateful that you are using swimming to serve others!! 
If you are going to be swimming in the Dolphin Dash, see here for more information on the cause, frequently asked questions, and tips for raising funds:  Thank you!
Clearly, great things are in store for Team Hydro this Summer and Fall! 
Our individual swimmer, online donation site will be up later this week–keep an eye out!
Thanks to all our swimmers, on-land supporters, and donors for your help and support!  We can’t wait to see you in, on, or by the water!!!
Go Team Hydro!!

Only 2 Days Left in 2015!

Dear Team Hydro,

This year has been a wonderful one for Team Hydro, including an exciting announcement that we will sponsor four new grants for innovation in Hydrocephalus research. The work sponsored by these grants will have immediate applications in both basic research and therapeutic development and validation.

To all who contributed to making these grants a reality — be it via donation, swimming, or spreading the word to others — please accept our sincerest thanks.

As the year draws to a close, please consider making a calendar year-end donation!  As always, donations are tax-deductible, are promised to go 100% to research, and will help make a difference in the lives of millions of people — last chance to support in 2015!!

Happy Holidays!
The Finlayson Family

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!