Diving, swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo... all of these sports have a lot of things in common. For starters, they are all Olympic sports. For these athletes putting in the intense hours of training in the water means subjecting their hair to a lot of chlorine damage. However you don't have to be an Olympian for chlorine to take its toll on your tresses. Even limited exposure to chlorine will damage your hair so here's some tips to follow to help keep your hair shiny and new.

 Chlorine is used in most public pools as a disinfectant however it is no secret that it can hurt your hair. "Chlorine has a damaging effect on the hair by invading the hair and stripping the color and nutrients," explains Karen Smidt, President of SBR Sports, which makes the popular TRISWIM hair and skin products.

Furthermore that unsightly green tint is no myth. According to Smidt, copper added to the chlorine to kill pool algae can cause the color change. While the green obviously shows up more prominently in blonde hair, it can be noticeable even in dark hair in the right light.

Helping your locks in the chlorine battle can start before you even hit the pool. Before you hit the deck, rinse your hair in the shower so that it becomes saturated with non-chlorinated water.

Then once you are done at the pool, shower right away and don't let the chlorine sit. Unfortunately regular shampoos are inadequate to remove the chlorine bound to your locks. To insure clean hair, you need to look for shampoos specifically formulated to strip chlorine. These products are not typically available in drugstores. You may be able to find a good selection at sports stores, however checking with your hairstylist at Attitudes Hair Salon is probably your best bet.

Because the chlorine exposure can leave your hair dry, make sure you follow up your shampooing with an extremely hydrating conditioner. If your hair is still in distress, consider a deep conditioning treatment at a salon. They're pricey but very effective.

Of course prevention is really the best cure. If you're just swimming laps and aren't trying to impress some looker in the next lane, consider wearing a swim cap. Yes, they look silly, but sometimes form has to follow function.