HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — Taryn Kloth is insistent that her and Kristen Nuss are not friends. Not anymore.
“We’re sisters,” Kloth said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “That’s the way it is.”
That comment may cue an eye roll from readers. It can be cliché in the beach world to call your partner a sister or brother, or label your team as family. But there is something that is undeniably different about Kloth and Nuss. They are, in a literal sense, more than partners.
They live together, for one. Their unique location, in Louisiana, puts them in a position where they are virtually tethered together for all things volleyball, and life, for that matter. They once spent a week apart, figuring they’d appreciate the break from one another. They both hated it.
“This is kind of embarrassing to say, but Kristen is the longest relationship that’s not just a normal friendship and not a family member I’ve ever had,” Kloth, the 25-year-old blocker, said. “I was just looking at our relationship and I said ‘I want to have Kristen as a friend, Kristen as a business partner, Kristen as a partner.’ Those three things are different.
“This last week we had a non-volleyball dinner. Putting those into our schedule is super helpful, sometimes having breaks. We spent a week apart and it was the longest we had gone apart in three years.”
Throughout that week, the 5-foot-6 Nuss was constantly texting the 6-4 Kloth, and vice versa. Unbelievable as it may sound, the two women who spent nearly every single day together since Kloth was promoted to court one at LSU in 2021 actually missed each other.
Maybe that sounds a bit much. A little separation of church and state can be a useful thing in relationships as loaded with competitive tension as theirs, where much of your personal, financial, and Olympic aspirations are heaped onto your partner’s shoulders. But it’s possible that Kloth and Nuss needed — and still need — one another more than any other partnership in the United States.
It was less than a year ago that they competed in their first international tournament, a Futures in Coolangatta, Australia. They began buried on the reserve list, and Kloth had even initially signed up with Aurora Davis, hoping to use her points to pull her into the event. Eventually, Davis was swapped for Nuss, the reserve list was whittled…
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