The Bleach Boys


Just as winter sports seasons are nearing the end and spring sports seasons are just around the corner, a handful of boys can be seen walking the halls with particularly yellow, bleach blonde hair.

The boys swim team bleaching their hair before championship meets is a tradition that goes back decades.

“Even the middle school coach has pictures of his dad with bleached hair. Every school in our Sectional does it, and you don’t want to be that school that doesn’t bleach,” senior Joe Sheets said.

There are other traditions that the whole Sectional takes part in as well.

“Every year when the girls Sectionals come around, all the boys [within each team] agree upon a theme for the meet and we all dress up as our theme and watch the meet together. This is a tradition that other teams do as well, and something that the girls also do for the boys Sectional,” junior Jake Ellington said.

When it comes to bleaching hair, it is a whole team affair.

“I decided to bleach my hair because I wanted to have the same experience that everyone else had and have fun with my teammates,” freshman Ethan Rose said.

It is not uncommon for some boys to shave their heads after they bleach their hair, but before their championship meets. This year, though, there were some casualties before bleaching.

“We were running out of bleach and didn’t want to buy another bulk container. The products were a bit pricey. So I shaved my head so that I wouldn’t have to use as much bleach on my hair, and everyone could bleach their hair,” Sheets said.

Although there are a handful of traditions that the boys team enjoys taking part in, bleaching hair is one of the oldest and is something that stands out on and off the pool deck.

“I like to represent Greenwood, and as ridiculous as it sounds, in the swimming world, bleaching your hair does that. I think of all of the swimmers before me that have done it, and I just can’t break the tradition,” Sheets said.

The team has a special kind of relationship that can only really be understood by the boys swim team.

“The boys team dynamic is appropriately chaotic. We have fun when we can and go annoy the Denny’s staff at 11 pm and do stuff like that, but when it comes to meet time or time for a tough practice, we’re ready,” Sheets said.

The team dynamic is unique compared to other teams due to how tight-knit the team is.

“For the three years that I’ve been on the high school swim team, I’ve found the team to be closer than any other sport that I’ve observed. We easily get along with each other and learn to have fun even through the hardest of practices. I feel like every year brings about another stupid and fun dynamic that is different from every other year,” Ellington said.

The boys State prelims takes place today at the IUPUI Natatorium.