Swim team becomes the “Real Slim Shady”

Tigersharks bleach hair in annual ritual to prepare for state competition


Photo by Kristin McCasland

Juniors Tyler Snell, Conor Diggs and Luke Calhoun sit in hair dryer chairs waiting for bleach to process

In the past couple of days, students have been noticing a couple more blondes walking the halls. Specifically the upperclassmen Tigershark swim team boys. These swimmers have reinstated the tradition of bleaching their hair a month before it is shaved for regionals.

“It’s something we’re kinda bringing back. We didn’t do it my freshman year or my sophomore year.” Senior Zack Norton said. “A lot of the guys used to [bleach their hair]. It’s just something fun we decided to do again.”

Changing their hair has done more than distinguish them as swimmers, it has brought them closer as a group.

“I feel that the bleaching and shaving our heads helps our team because it unites all of us and gets us ready for regionals,” Junior Luke Calhoun said.”It gives the freshman a sense of pride in the team seeing even the upperclassmen willing to change their hair for the team.”

While they could bleach their hair in a variety of ways, many of them had it professionally done.

“I went to a salon,” Junior Zack Wolf said. “It cost me $20. Kristin McCasland offered to do it for $10, but everyone else wanted to go there to make sure it looked right.”

Bleaching their hair was not a requirement, and not all of the guys were confident they would like the change.

“At first I was a little bit scared because I didn’t know how I was going to look as a blonde,” Junior Jacob Shaw said. “But I heard everyone was doing it and I decided to go along with it.”

The new blonde look makes the swimmers easily spotted and has raised awareness of their upcoming competition.

“We bleach our hair to show that we are proud to be swimmers,” Calhoun said. “It’s just kind of a tradition that  the seniors passed on to me and I felt I should continue.”

Their blonde locks only here for a short time as the boys will be shaving them off at the beginning of February.

“It’s kind of like a bonding thing, like when we shave our heads,” Norton said. “It just shows unity, that we’re a group. Kind of like a family.”

The revival of this tradition has made a positive impact on the team and hopefully will be continued for future generations.

“It was a bigger success than we expected,” Calhoun said. “We’re glad that it could bring the guys closer together.”