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Nov. 26, 2013

PITTSBURGH - University of Pittsburgh Head Swimming and Diving coach Chuck Knoles announced the addition of seven new Panthers, six women and one male, for Pitt's 2014-15 roster. Joining the Panthers next year will be Tia Van Landeghem, Emily Murphy, Mary Beth Blocher, Amy Tansill, Amanda Richey, Meme Sharp and Austin Doss.

"Our new membership in the ACC, along with stepping our recruiting up has produced a great fall class for us," Knoles said. "This was our most successful fall signing in women's swimming since I have been at Pittsburgh. We have shored up our sprint program with Van Landeghem, Murphy, Blocher and Tansill. Those four athletes alone will make a huge difference to Pitt sprints. Also, inking Richey to our distance program was a big get for us.  

"On the men's side, being able to add Pennsylvania standout Austin Doss as a Panther was a huge catch for us," Knoles added.

Standing at 6-foot-4, Van Landeghem will add depth to the Panthers' sprint and middle-distance programs. She was a 2013 Canadian Games Member, as well as a Canadian Senior National Qualifier.

"We have signed a future NCAA scorer in my opinion in Tia," Knoles Said. "She is one of the tallest high school sprinters competing now and is loaded with talent."

Murphy comes to Pitt as a U.S. Junior National Qualifier. Her most recent accomplishments were placing second in the 50-free as well as eighth in the 100-free at the Ohio High School State Meet.

"We focused on recruiting Emily because we like her work ethic and her speed," Knoles said. "As an accomplished high school swimmer, it will not take Emily long to become an accomplished collegiate swimmer."

Blocher excels in both the 50-freestyle and 100-freestyle in high school. She competed in the Indiana High School State Meet placing fifth in the 50-free, and tenth in the 100-free.

"We are very excited to have her join us next year," Knoles said. "Mary Beth is tall and a fairly untapped sprinter from Indiana. She gives us another talented sprinter on our roster to help build up our sprint program here at Pitt."

Tansill will come to Pitt from Virginia as a Senior National Qualifier, as well as the 2013 Virginia High School State Champion in the 100-breaststroke.

"She is a consummate talent," Knoles claimed. "Her times from her junior year would make her a scorer at the 2013 ACC Championships. We are expecting to expand her 100-breaststroke success to the 200-breast and to some of the sprint events."

Richey will join the Panthers as a Senior National Qualifier, focusing in the 200, 500 and 1,650-freestyle. A decorated swimmer, Richey competed at the Colorado High School Meet placing second in the 500-free and earning sixth place in the 200-free. She also competed at the 2013 Summer Junior Nationals, finishing tenth overall in the 1,650-free.

"Our distance program has landed a great athlete to help us compete in the ACC with Amanda coming in next fall," Knoles stated. "Amanda is not only an accomplished distance swimmer, but has had some nice success in the middle distance freestyle and backstroke. She is a tough competitor as you would expect from anyone who scored at Junior Nationals in the mile."

Sharp has excelled as a diver in her high school years, including competing at the USA Diving Junior Nationals in 2013. Sharp placed 12th in platform, and third in the 3M dive while competing in Zone B at the USA Diving Nationals. Sharp also competed at the 2013 Indiana High School State Meet where she finished second overall.

"Meme has what it takes to be successful in ACC diving, which is one of the toughest conferences in the country," head diving coach Julian Krug stated. "Her success not only on springboard, but in platform will make her a great addition to our Panthers squad.

"Sharp was our first verbal commitment as an athlete this year and having her gives us a nationally competitive diver coming into the 2014-15 season."

The lone male signee, Austin Doss, will join Pitt next fall as one of the most accomplished swimmers in Pennsylvania, coming from the storied Hersey Aquatics program.

As a national qualifier, Doss has excels in the 100 and 200-backstroke. He competed at the 2013 PIAA State Championships in the 100-back where he placed third. Doss also had great success at the 2013 Summer NCSA Junior Nationals where he competed in the 100 and 200-back, placing in fourth and in sixth, respectively.

"On the men's side, our plans were to sign Pennsylvania talent and we got one of the best talents in the State with Austin," Knoles said. "He will be a welcome addition."

Swimming and Diving Signs Top-Notch Class for Next Fall

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