Kyle Voulgaris, 10, making waves in open water

Kyle Voulgaris is a tough little guy.

Last weekend, the 10-year-old Santa Barbara boy finished the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim in chilly San Francisco Bay in his open-water swimming debut. And on Saturday, he completed the Semana Nautica 1-mile ocean swim.

Kyle did the endurance swims — and goes through life — while dealing with a life-threatening brain condition called Hydrocephalus. The condition is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, pushing it against the skull, which can damage or destroy brain tissue.

Kyle, a 5th grader at Marymount School, had shunt tubing surgically placed in his brain, which allows the excess fluid to travel to his abdomen, where it can be absorbed.

In his Alcatraz swim, Kyle was a part of Team Hydro, a nonprofit organization that raises money to help find a cure for the condition. Kyle, the youngest member of the team, raised $5,000 from the 1.5-mile swim.

Former Stanford water polo player Ryan McCarthy guided Kyle through the choppy conditions off San Francisco. He finished in 56 minutes, 6 seconds.

Kyle also is a water polo player for the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club.

In the Semana Nautica swim, he finished in 26 minutes, 11 seconds, beating some of his friends.

Asked if swimming helps him deal with his condition, Kyle said, “I don’t really know if it helps me, but it definitely helps me be happy.”

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