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Dec. 7, 2001

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head men’s and women’s swimming coach Mark Bernardino has announced that eight swimmers have committed to attend the University of Virginia. Two men’s swimmers and six women’s swimmers have committed to the Cavaliers and will enroll at Virginia for the 2002-03 academic year.

The Virginia men’s swimming recruits are Fran Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa./Germantown Academy) and Ryan Berg (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional).

The six women’s recruits are: Elaine Bennett (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman), Corey Berg (Hyde Park, N.Y./F.D. Roosevelt), Rachael Burke (Bethesda, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel), Meagan Clark (Advance, N.C./Davie County), Katie Gordon (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep), and Brielle White (Philadelphia, Pa./Springside).

Fran Crippen is one of the top recruits in the country. He is the 2001 National champion in the 800-meter freestyle and is ranked in the top 20 in the world in the 800-meter free style (12th) and 1500-meter free (18th). He was a member of the U.S. Goodwill Games team, swimming both the 400 and 1500 freestyle. His older sister, Maddy, was a 2000 Olympian in the 400 I.M. Crippen swims for the Germantown Academy Aquatic Club. His top times are: 400y I.M. (3:52.7), 200y free (1:38.7), 500y free (4:20.1), 1000y free (9:02.2), and 1500-meter free (15:21.4). “Fran is one of the premier young swimmers in the world, explained head coach Mark Bernardino. “Every major program in the United States hoped to add Fran to their team. Fran is destined to become one of the finest collegiate and international swimmers in the distance freestyle races.”

Ryan Berg swims for the Bernals Gators Swim team and will add depth in the breaststroke and I.M. events. His top times include: 100y breast (57.4), 200y breast (2:03.8), 200y I.M. (1:51.7), 400y I.M. (4:02.0). ” Ryan is a versatile and fast developing I.M. and breaststroke swimmer,” said Bernardino. “We believe Ryan will make a significant impact on both the conference and national levels during his career.”

Elaine Bennett, a member of the NOVA Swim Club will add depth in the breaststroke and I.M. events. Her best times are: 100y breast (1:06.5), 200y breast (2:22.2), 200y I.M. (2:07.9), and 400y I.M. (4:29.1). “Elaine may be the surprise find of the freshman class of UVa for next year, a versatile athlete, Elaine is expected to make major strides forward in multiple events including the breaststroke and individual medleys,” noted Bernardino.

Corey Berg, who swims for the Marist Swim Club, was a National finalist in the 200 backstroke at the 2001 Long Course Summer Nationals. She was also a consolation finalist in the 100 backstroke at Senior Nationals. Berg’s best times include: 100y back (56.8), 200y back (1:58.1), 200y I.M. (2:05.0), 400 I.M. (4:24.8), and 200y free (1:51.7). “Corey has been an accomplished backstroker on the national level for several seasons. It is our hope to help Corey take her swimming to the next level.”

Rachael Burke is a National finalist in the 1500-meter freestyle and is currently ranked number one in the country among 17-year old swimmers in the 500 and 1000 freestyle events. She swims for Curl-Burke Swim Club and has posted times of: 200y free (1:51.7), 500y free (4:45.0), 1000y free (9:42.3), and 1650y free (16:30.3). “Rachael is one of the premier high school distance swimmers in the nation. She brings national and international level experience to our program and will fit the mold of the great female distance swimmers that have preceded her,” Bernardino said.

Meagan Clark of Advance, N.C., is recovering well from a knee operation last year and is expected to regain her previous form by the start of the Cavaliers’ 2002-2003 season. Clark, who swims for the Winston-Salem YMCA, will add depth in the breaststroke and I.M. events. Her top times include: 100y breast (1:04.9), 200y breast (2:18.8), and 200y I.M. (2:08.3). “Meagan will solidify our breaststroke and individual medley corps while adding much needed speed and consistency to the group.”

Katie Gordon, a member of the Trinity Aquatic Swim Club, is one of the most versatile swimmers in the country in the distance and I.M. events. She is also a National finalist in the 200-meter backstroke. Gordon has clocked times of: 100y free (52.4), 200y free (1:50.5), 500y free (4:48), 1000y free (9:58.6), 1650y free (16:32), 100y back (57.2), 200y back (2:00.8), 200y I.M. (2:04.3), and 400y I.M. (4:22.1). “Katie is a tough, resilient and versatile swimmer. Her versatility will allow Katie to compete in multiple events at the highest national levels,” Bernardino said.

Brielle White, who swims for PDR Swim Club, is one of the top sprint backstrokers in the country. She was an Olympic Trials semi-finalist in the 100 backstroke. The Virginia coaching staff anticipates with continued development, she will become a wonderful 200 backstroker as well. Her top times are: 100y back (56.3), 200y back (2:03.3), and 50y free (24.2). “Brielle White is a talented and powerful backstroke sprinter. We expect Brielle to contend for All-American honors in the backstroke events during her career at UVa,” said Bernardino.

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