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LBSU water polo triplets have everyone seeing triple

The Kaltenbach triplets made their debut at LBSU this season after representing Ecuador in the Pan American Games this summer.

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Chandler, Garrett and Troy Kaltenbach are playing in their first season at Long Beach State after all three redshirted in 2014.

Chandler, Garrett and Troy Kaltenbach are playing in their first season at Long Beach State after all three redshirted in 2014.

Melitza Beltran | Daily 49er

Melitza Beltran | Daily 49er

Chandler, Garrett and Troy Kaltenbach are playing in their first season at Long Beach State after all three redshirted in 2014.

Joshua Caudill, Staff Writer

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“Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster” is a title from a popular Japanese science fiction film in the 60s. In the story, the monster is considered Godzilla’s greatest threat in a long list of formidable opponents and comes to Earth to unleash its fury.

Although they’re not as elaborate and ridiculous as Ghidorah, Long Beach State water polo has its own three-headed monster – the Kaltenbach triplets.

“They are incredibly competitive in water polo and with each other. They hold each other to high standards,” LBSU head coach Gavin Arroyo said. “It’s a tough yet healthy dynamic. They are a joy to coach and we expect great things from them.”

Chandler, Troy and Garrett are the trio of brothers on the 49ers men’s water polo team. The Kaltenbachs, who have been playing water polo since they were 12-years old, are redshirt freshmen out of Santa Margarita Catholic High School. There, Troy and Chandler, both fielders, made first team All-League in the Trinity League and Garrett, a goalie, won Defensive Player of the Year his senior year.

They also have duel citizenship with Ecuador, which they gained through their mother’s side and played for the Ecuador Senior National Team since 2012, including participating in the Pan American Games in Canada last summer.


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The college recruiting process was a peculiar affair due to speculation of where the brothers would attend college. Many wondered if they were a package deal for a lucky program or if they would go their separate ways, which they quickly nipped in the bud on their signing day nearly two years ago.

“We wanted to stick together in college because if we didn’t, it just would not feel right, and we are glad we did,” Chandler said. “There wasn’t one thing we didn’t like about the school or the water polo program when deciding our school of choice. LBSU was the best school that wanted all three of us. Long Beach is the best fit for us across the board and I have learned so much in so little time both in and out of the pool.”

The decision to remain united and extend their careers at the same program showcased their closeness that one would expect triplets to have. It was to be expected considering their past.

According to Chandler, when both Garrett and Troy were sick and away from him at school, it felt weird for him going alone because it gave him a sense of what it’s like for everyone else that doesn’t share his uniqueness by having siblings by their side all the time.

“I’ll tell you. I love being a triplet. I’m never alone because we have very similar class schedules and we have the same practice schedule so we go everywhere together,” Chandler said. “We know everything about each other and are such a close-knit group of people.”

Troy and Chandler are Business Finance majors and Garrett is a Sports Psychology and Leadership major, which is a full load when they’re Division 1 athletes. They’re just your normal 20-something college students except they look like celebrities and play college water polo and there are three of them. Other than that, they’re totally normal.

The youngest brother, Chandler, has exploded this season with 23 goals for LBSU, which has been a bright spot in a season where the youthful roster has been heavily relied upon. Troy has been key in the rotation as well and Garrett is expected to be the successor to Pavo Ljepopio at goalie next season.

Ljepopio, star goalie and a senior leader, expressed his admiration for the Kaltenbachs and even laughed about the experience of triplets as teammates.

“First time I met them, I couldn’t see much of the difference between Troy and Chandler, so a lot of times I would mix their names trying to tell them something,” Ljepopio said. “Sometimes it would get confusing, especially during the game. Good thing Garrett looks somewhat different than two of them because it would get too complicated to have three almost identical people on your team.”

The Kaltenbach brothers have a tremendous upside in the pool and they epitomize the term “student athlete. With a fiery competitive streak, they hope to knock down doors and make their mark at LBSU in the pool and in the classroom.

“We want to be successful during our collegiate years in water polo but more importantly also graduate within four years with a great GPA,” Chandler said. “We’re going to make the most of every opportunity that is given to us”

Ljepopio summed it up best with the impact the triplets have already made on the program and their teammates.

“In our water polo program, we wish for talented, responsible and hard-working people. In this case, our wish came true – three times.”

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