David Popovici Goes 1:44.74 In 200 Free To Lower 2009 Mare Nostrum Record; Meet Marks For Milak & Masse

David Popovici of Romania competes in the Men's Freestyle 200m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 24th, 2023.
David Popovici: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

David Popovici Goes 1:44.74 In 200 Free To Lower 2009 Mare Nostrum Record; Meet Marks For Milak & Masse

David Popovici lowered Paul Biedermann’s 200 free Mare Nostrum record that had stood since 2009 to 1:44.74 on day one of the Barcelona stop of the tour.

Kylie Masse lowered the 50 back standard to 27.24 while Kristof Milak matched the 50.95 Mare Nostrum standard he set in June 2021, weeks before he won gold and silver at the Tokyo Olympics.

David Popovici of Romania reacts after competing in the 100m Freestyle Men Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 26th, 2023.

Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Popovici was second at 50, 0.06 behind Hwang Sunwoo before the Romanian overturned the deficit into a 0.08 advantage at halfway.

The 2022 world and European champion extended his lead over Hwang to 0.64 at 150 before moving away with a 26.56 final 50 for the sixth-fastest performance of his career, topped by his 1:42.97 at the 2022 European Championships.

His time was 0.01 swifter than that which secured gold for Hwang at the Doha worlds and propels him to third in the 2024 rankings behind Lukas Martens (1:44.14) and 2023 world champion Matt Richards who clocked 1:44.69 at the British trials last month and 0.01 ahead of Duncan Scott.

It also sliced 0.14 from Biedermann’s previous mark of 1:44.88 at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum in June 2009 when Popovici was three months away from his fifth birthday.

Splits: 24.65/51.45 (26.80)/1:18.18 (26.73)/1:44.74 (26.56)

Hwang, who won the Asian Games title in 1:44.40 in September last year, clocked 1:45.68 with Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto third in 1:46.09.

2024 Rankings

1:44.14: Lukas Martens, German National Championships, April 2024

1:44.69: Matt Richards, British Olympic trials, April 2024

1:44.74: David Popovici, Mare Nostrum Barcelona, May 2024

= 1:44.75: Duncan Scott, British Olympic trials, April 2024

= 1:44.75: Hwang Sunwoo, World Championships, February 2024

Milak & Masse Make Their Mark

MILAK Kristof HUN 200m Butterfly Men Semifinal Swimming FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 20/06/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Kristof Milak: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Milak was 0.02 ahead of Nyls Korstanje at halfway before powering away with a 26.85 second 50 to touch at 50.95 for the third time in his career following the 2021 Mare Nostrum and 2019 World Championships.

It is the Hungarian’s fastest time in international waters since he won the 2022 European title in 50.33.

The Olympic 200 fly champion and world record-holder posted 50.80 at the 2023 national championships but later withdrew ahead of the Fukuoka worlds as he sought to focus on his mental health.

His time was Milak’s second fastest of 2024, 0.04 swifter than his winning time of 50.99 at the national trials, and propelled him to seventh in the 2024 rankings headed by Josh Liendo’s 50.06.

Hubert Kos is the fastest Hungarian this year after he went 50.84 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio in April.

Korstanje was second in 51.97 with Japan’s Genki Terakado claiming third in 52.03 ahead of Thomas Ceccon (52.15) and Chad Le Clos (52.43).

Masse got the finals session off to a speedy start when she scorched to a 27.24 Mare Nostrum record in the 50 back, lowering the previous standard of 27.37 held jointly by Anastasia Zueva and Ingrid Wilm from 2018 and 2023 respectively.

It was only 0.06 outside Masse’s Canadian record of 27.18 set in April 2022 and her joint second-fastest time of 2024, just 0.01 off her season’s best of 27.23 at the Spanish Winter Open Swimming Championships in February.

Teammate Wilm was second home in 27.73 with European record-holder Kira Toussaint third in 28.17.

Haughey Continues Golden Form; Gorbenko Rewrites Israeli Record Books Again

Siobhan Haughey has enjoyed a scorching start to the Mare Nostrum tour, claiming the 100/200 free double as well as the 100m breaststroke in Canet at the weekend.

That included a sizzling 52.55 en-route to the 100 free title, swifter than the time in which she claimed silver at the Doha worlds and eclipsed only by Marrit Steenbergen and Mollie O’Callaghan in 2024.


Siobhan Haughey: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

She returned to the pool on Wednesday where she dominated the 100 free, splitting 25.72/27.04 to claim victory by more than a second in 52.76.

Michelle Coleman of Sweden came from fourth at halfway for second in 53.87 following a 27.51 second 50 with Slovenia’s Neza Klancar third in 53.97, 0.02 ahead of Steenbergen (53.99).

It meant that Sarah Sjostrom’s Mare Nostrum record of 52.08 stays intact, almost 11 years since the Swede posted the standard in 2017.

Anastasia Gorbenko continues to rewrite the Israeli record books, following up her 200 and 400IM marks in Canet with a new 200 back standard of 2:08.54.

Africa Zamorano Sanz was second in 2:09.26 with Estella Llum Tonrath completing the podium in 2:11.62.

She returned for the 200IM where she set another national mark of 2:08.55, the fastest time seen at the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum, 0.52 inside the 2:09.07 swum by Katinka Hosszu in June 2019.

Shiho Matsumoto (2:10.46) and Mio Narita (2:12.05) made it a Japanese 2-3.

Manaudou & Watanabe On Top

Florent Manaudou was the only man inside 22 in the 50 free, the 2012 Olympic champion stopping the clock at 21.89 as a battle royale unfolded behind him.

Alessandro Miressi of Italy and the Netherlands’ Kenzo Simons couldn’t be separated on 22.24 with Kristof Milak off the podium by 0.01 in 22.25.

Ippei Watanabe added the men’s 200 breaststroke gold to his Canet victory in 2:07.91 ahead of Yu Hanaguruma who clocked 2:08.59 as the Japanese pair replicated the finishing order in France at the weekend.

Caspar Corbeau made up a deficit of 1.36secs on Netherlands teammate and Olympic silver medallist Arno Kamminga to finish third in 2:10.07.

Pilato Holds Off Speedy Schouten

Benedetta Pilato of Italy competes in the 50m Breaststroke Women Semifinal during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 29th, 2023.

Benedetta Pilato: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Benedetta Pilato led throughout to claim the 100m breaststroke although Tes Schouten was closing down the second 50.

The Italian reached halfway in 31.02, 0.36 ahead of Reona Aoki in second with Schouten a further 0.18 adrift.

The Netherlands swimmer, who won silver in Doha, ate into the deficit with every stroke but Pilato had too much of a lead and won in 1:06.66, ahead of Schouten who clocked 1:06.77 following a 35.21 second length with Aoki third in 1:06.80.

A 27.71 second 50 propelled Michele Lamberti past leader Lee Juho to claim the men’s 100m back by the tiniest margin possible, in 54.02 to 54.03 with Ulises Saravia Pelaez third home in 54.64.

World silver medallist Helena Bach Rosendahl dominated the 200 fly in 2:07.79 with Laura Cabanes Garzas (2:09.51) and Hiroko Makino (2:10.27) next home.

Nicolo Martinenghi was a clear winner in the 50 breaststroke, the two-time world silver medallist the only man inside 27 in 26.97.

Italian teammate Ludovico Viberti was second in 27.31, 0.05 ahead of Taku Taniguchi (27.36).

Tomoyuki Matsushita continued the form that secured the IM double at the opening stage when he won the long medley in 4:13.28.

Second, 2.34secs adrift, behind the Japanese was Kim Minseop of South Korea in 4:15.62 ahead of Hungary’s Gabor Zombori (4:17.44).

Carlos Garach Benito headed the men’s 1500 free in 15:03.55 ahead of Damien Joly (15:06.50) and Henrik Christiansen (15:10.52).

Farida Osman won the women’s 50 fly in 26.06 and Valentine Dumont took the 400 free in 4:07.35.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 days ago

Looks like Popovici is back! Hopefully he medals at Paris and the same applies in the 100m (behind a Hopefully winning King Kyle!).

4 days ago
Reply to  Kanga1

King David will win!

3 days ago
Reply to  Master

If Kyle doesn’t then yes I would be happy to see the Romanian win.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x