David Popovici Ready To Pile Up Some More 47-Second Efforts in 100 Freestyle


David Popovici Ready To Pile Up Some More 47-Second Efforts in 100 Freestyle

During a career, a single sub-48 performance in the 100-meter freestyle is defining. Only the most-elite athletes are capable of such an effort, and the moment is reason for celebration. Tap into the 47-second realm and primetime status on the international stage is immediately attained. More, it means contention for global hardware.

David Popovici lives in the 47-second stratosphere.

Although the Romanian youngster won’t turn 18 until next month, he has already cracked the 48-second barrier on 10 occasions. Repeat: This 17-year-old kid owns double-digit performances in the 47-second range, headlined by a career-best mark of 47.13. And, at the European Championships in Rome, expect a few more 47-point outings. Popovici will begin the 100 freestyle on Friday.

Coming off a World Championships in June in which he garnered the first two global crowns of his career, Popovici will star in a continental showcase. The Euro Championships started on Thursday at the Foro Italico, a venue that has served as the site of numerous high-profile performances through the years. It won’t be a surprise if Popovici enriches the history of the Roman facility.

This summer has been a showcase of sorts for Popovici. While he excelled at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with finals appearances in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle, this year has been a breakthrough campaign. At the World Champs, Popovici routed the opposition in the 200 freestyle, snaring gold by more than a second over fellow teen Hwang Sun-Woo of Korea. He later added a title in the 100 freestyle.

Less than a month later, Popovici cruised to a triple in the 50-100-200 freestyles at the European Junior Championships, which were held Otopeni. More than anything, Popovici recognized the importance of racing in Romania, as his participation was a chance to elevate the profile of his sport in his homeland.

Due to his youth and precocious talent, Popovici understands the lofty expectations that will follow him on the road to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

“Yeah, I’m fully aware that what’s coming now is the hardest part, even harder than preparing for the World Championships and performing well there,” Popovici said. “But I have good people around me who will protect me and guide me through this phase, so I can still focus on swimming. The only pressure I feel is that now I’m the leader of our national team, and I’m supposed to motivate the others and lead our guys, which is something new. But I’ve accepted this role and what comes with it.”

So, what will Popovici do in Rome? In peak form for the World Championships, can Popovici duplicate those results? Can he make a run at the world record in the 100 freestyle, which has stood at 46.91 to Brazilian Cesar Cielo since the super-suit circus of 2009. It is not easy to maintain prime condition for two major competitions in the same season, but Popovici has proven himself a generational talent. Doubting him would be unwise.

If nothing else, Popovici could have at least four more chances to reach 47-second territory in the 100 freestyle – three individual rounds of the event and a potential leadoff leg of the Romanian 400 freestyle relay. It’s a special arena to reach, but one the talented youth has made look routine.

David Popovici – 100 Freestyle (Sub-48 Performances)
47.13 (Worlds-2022)
47.30 (Euro Juniors-2021)
47.34 (Euro Juniors-2022)
47.54 (Euro Juniors-2022)
47.56 (Euro Juniors-2021)
47.58 (Worlds-2022)
47.60 (Worlds-2022)
47.69 (Euro Juniors-2022)
47.72 (Olympics-2021)
47.76 (Euro Juniors-2022)