David Popovici Rockets to 47.30 100 Free, Breaks Own World Junior Record, Fastest Time in the World

David Popovici -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

David Popovici Rockets to 47.30 100 Free, Breaks Own World Junior Record, Fastest Time in the World

The week of David Popovici continues at the European Junior Championships in Rome. Competing in the Foro Italico that hosted the 1994 and 2009 World Championships, the 16-year-old from Romania won the men’s 100 free in 47.30, which knocked a quarter-second off his own world junior record of 47.56 set two days earlier as the leadoff leg on his country’s 400 free relay. That performance made Popovici the fastest man in the world for 2021, surpassing the 47.31 that Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov swam to win the event at the European Championships in May. Popovici himself was sixth in that race in 48.08, so he has improved his lifetime best by almost eight tenths in two months.

The rest of the global top five includes world champion Caeleb Dressel, Italy’s Alessandro Miressi and defending Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers, so that’s an elite group Popovici now sits ahead of just three weeks before the 100 free Olympic final. He has quickly jumped into contention for an Olympic medal that absolutely no one saw coming even a week ago, and he could post another impressive mark in the 200 free in the coming days.

“I am excited because of today’s result,” Popovici said, per LEN. “I knew I was able to swim a time like this. This also confirms that I am training well for Tokyo. I am not going to stop here. I am aiming for the Olympic podium. I am glad that my parents were here tonight and could see my swim. It is important to me to receive the support of my family before and after the races.”

After splitting an incredible 24.39 on the second 50 in his performance Tuesday, Popovici went  faster in this race, turning in 22.97 (with a lead of more than a half-second), and came home a shade quicker as well, in 24.33. The race was always Popovici against the clock as his closest competitor, Great Britain’s Edward Mildred, finished almost a second and a half behind in 48.77. Poland’s Mateusz Chowaniec claimed bronze in 49.37.

Full results


  1. avatar

    How fantastic is that?! A genuine young talent that upsets the Top 10 world stars. That’s what sports is all about. How fun is that?! “Gooo Team Popovici!!!”

    • avatar

      Congratulations David

  2. avatar

    Actually Kolesnikov’s 47.31 was set at the Russian Nationals, not at the European Championships.

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  4. avatar

    Fantastic! Well done Popovici

  5. avatar

    David is amazing. He’s one the best swimmers in the world and he’s only 16. Good job!

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