The San Ramon Valley High School boys' water polo team is set to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco to support research for a neurological condition known as hydrocephalus.
The 18th annual swim for the Team Hydro Foundation, which will take place on Aug. 13, will serve as the first official team event for the Wolves' 2022-23 squad.
Peter Finlayson and brother, Dr. Sam Finlayson, SRVHS alumni and co-founders of Team Hydro, will lead the group of 45 swimmers into the frigid water of the San Francisco Bay.
"It's really exciting and special to see this sort of next generation take up the cause and use their talents that they've fought so hard at in the pool for good, to do something bigger and better than them and that's humbling," Peter Finlayson said. "We're super excited to have the San Ramon water polo team, both my brother and I played water polo at San Ramon back in the day."
Finlayson and his brother created the nonprofit organization and have dedicated their efforts to raising awareness and finding a cure for hydrocephalus, which causes excess fluid buildup in the ventricles of the brain. They suffered the loss of their sister Kate to the condition.
According to the Team Hydro website, hydrocephalus is a neurological condition affecting 1 million Americans. There is no cure and treatment requires invasive brain surgery.
"There's been no real significant advances in treatment since the 1950s," Finlayson said. "So much more research is desperately needed to better characterize the condition and help us move towards a cure. And that's what we're trying to do."
"We're trying to help attract new researchers into the field, establish a better understanding of the basic science, and then enable them to sort of start building momentum and secure larger grants from government agencies and other sources to hopefully make it so that one day, you know, other people don't need to suffer and die. Like our sister did," Finlayson said.
In addition to the nonprofit and the San Ramon Valley High School team, many other participants will swim in the event.
"We also have a wide range of abilities on our team, we have former Olympians, and NCAA water polo champions. We also have grandmothers and grandfathers and everything in between," Finlayson said.
Participation has grown throughout the years and Team Hydro is just getting started, according to Finlayson. "We've actually sold out our swim this year. We're capped at about 45 swimmers due to Coast Guard permitting and just the size of our ferry vessel," he said.
A gathering at Aquatic park by Ghirardelli Square will be held after the swim. Friends and family will be able to recognize those who participated this year.
Though registration is closed, the nonprofit is still collecting donations for this year's fundraising, with around $42,000 so far toward its $75,000 goal for 2022. The SRVHS team has raised $3,059 toward its goal of $7,500. To learn more, visit donate.teamhydro.org.