Before picking Virginia, Crippen also considered offers from Michigan and Texas, a national champion and perennial powerhouse in the sport.
"It was pretty hard," Crippen said of his decision. "I wanted to be close to home. I wanted my family to come and see me swim. I knew UVA had a good reputation and a great distance program."
Crippen's sister, Maddy, swims at Villanova and is a 1998 Germantown Academy graduate. She placed sixth in the 400 individual medley at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and won a title in Clovis the previous year.
Fran Crippen also was won over by Virginia's campus, the coaching staff, and his future teammates.
"It was so beautiful," he said of his visit there last month. "The kids seemed like a close, tight group."
Last season, the Cavaliers won their third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship and set a meet record with 883.5 points.
They placed 13th at the 2001 NCAA championships, the second-highest finish in school history and the third straight year Virginia had placed in the top 15 at the championships.
The Cavaliers are currently 2-0.
Last school year, Crippen was named the top male swimmer for the second straight year at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships. He won the 500 freestyle and the 200 freestyle, and he anchored the winning 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays.
He is undecided on his course of study at Virginia.
Shannon Ryan's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.