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Malibu triplets raise the bar for Seawolves

Seawolves swimmers and triplets (left to right) Talulla, Ranger and Wiley Murphree gather for a photo. Photo Submitted
Ryan Flynn, Freelance Reporter
8:52 am PDT August 8, 2017

Tallula Murphree isn’t used to coming in last.

The 10-year-old, who holds Malibu swimming records in her age group, doesn’t lose often. However, when she was born, both of her twin brothers beat her out of the womb. Her brother Wiley was born a minute before her. Ranger, the eldest twin, was born a minute before him.

She’s had a much better record racing against them since.

All three Murphree children are members of the Malibu Seawolves, a club team that utilizes the Malibu High School swimming pool. Tallula was the first to join the team.

“She’s quicker than the boys,” mother Sue Murphree said. “She’s very competitive.”

Growing up, the triplets did most everything together. The boys played baseball together. All three played soccer. Sue made Tallula play for the boy’s team when they were little. She was the only girl on the squad.

Swimming, too, has always been just another part of life. The triplets had access to several pools growing up, one at home and one at preschool. The Seawolves naturally came next. The Murphrees moved to Malibu in 2014 and Tallula quickly joined the swim team, which caters to Malibu youth aged 5 to 18.

After Tallula’s brothers watched a few of her meets, they too caught the swim bug and joined the Seawolves. After completing a swim clinic, Ranger joined up in September 2016. Wiley joined half a year later, and used the skills he learned to join the Junior Lifeguards program at Zuma Beach. He and both his siblings passed the Junior Lifeguards test on the first day. 

“They’re great friends and they sort of pump up the other kids on the team,” Seawolves coach Max Jaben said. “Especially Ranger and Tallula at this point, they are great leaders for the team. Wiley got a later start but he’s grown by leaps and bounds.”

Earlier this summer, Tallula qualified for the Junior Olympics, held this year in Santa Clarita. She qualified to compete in the 50 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke. Ranger, too, qualified to compete in the 50 backstroke. Neither had competed in the Junior Olympics before this year.

Two weekends ago, they joined three other Malibu Seawolves members in the competition, and they did not disappoint.

“They did great,” Sue Murphree said. “They cut some time off their personal bests and improved their ranking.”

Kennan Hotchkiss provided the highlight of the competition, finishing as a runner-up in the 400 freestyle. The Murphree children also more than held their own. Ranger and Tallula were the youngest Malibu swimmers to compete, but Jaben said they didn’t shy away from the competition.

“They have tons of energy and are very competitive with each other,” Jaben said.

Jaben said he’s excited for this coming season and feels the Seawolves team is in a far better spot than it started off last year. The Seawolves will hold a preseason clinic from Aug. 21-31 and then will begin fall swimming the Tuesday after Labor Day.

When the season starts, more likely than not, the first three kids in the pool will be the Murphree trio.

“You don’t see triplets every day, never mind some that are competing and pushing each other,” Jaben said. “I look forward to being part of their development as young kids and as swimmers.”