European Championships, Day 5 Finals: David Popovici Blasts World-Leading 1:43.13 in 200 Free

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

European Championships, Day 5 Finals: David Popovici Blasts World-Leading 1:43.13 in 200 Free

You can just about hear the theme for “The Breakfast Club” playing over the results put up by David Popovici at the European Championships this week.

Don’t you, forget about Popovici … Even Simple Minds will tell you that.

After a difficult 2023, Popovici offered another reminder that he’s in good form and a serious threat in Paris by blasting a world No. 1 time to win the 200 freestyle in Belgrade Friday. His time of 1:43.13 is the fastest in the world this year by a clear second and near his meet record from 2022.

All the action on Night 5 in Belgrade:

Women’s 100 butterfly

Roos Vanotterdijk delivered a historic swim for Belgium, just the country’s sixth ever gold medal at Euros. She went 57.47, improving by three tenths her national record from last summer.

“My only target was the Olympic cut,” Vanotterdijk told European Aquatics. “I clocked a fitting time but that was too early so I had to do it here to make it count. Yesterday, in the semis I did that, though by 0.03sec, but I did and that made me so happy.

“This made this event already a success, so coming here I was like, it didn’t matter if I’m eighth or first, I just went.”

It was .27 over Georgia Damasioti of Greece, who went 57.74. Sara Junevik, the 50 fly champ, was third.

Men’s 200 freestyle

A day after putting a charge into the 100 free world record, David Popovici resumed his quest for the long-held Paul Biedermann mark of 1:42.00 from the Rome Worlds.

Popovici went 1:43.13 to win by 2.5 seconds. His splits:

  • 23.83 – 26.25 – 26.71 – 26.34 – 1:43.13

Popovici was out faster than Biedermann’s world record, in 50.12 over 50.08.

“I’m just swimming as I train, nothing special,” he told European Aquatics. “No time target, just go as I could.”

The time is the fifth-fastest performance all-time. It’s the second-best in a textile suit, trailing only his 1:42.97. He slots in .01 ahead of Yannick Agnel’s performance from the 2012 Olympics. Popovici now owns three of the top seven times all-time.

His time is the fastest in the world this year, beating Lukas Martens’ 1:44.14. That includes U.S. men’s trials, won by Luke Hobson in 1:44.89.

Danas Rapsys was the best of the rest in 1:45.65, continuing his strong swim. Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic was third, just edging Niko Jankovic of Croatia.

 Women’s 200 breaststroke

Kristyna Horska added another outstanding swim for Czechia with a 2:23.60 to go wire-to-wire in the 200 breast. She was 1.60 seconds up on the field.

Silver went to Denmark’s Clara Rybak-Andersen in 2:25.20. She was tied with countrywoman Thea Blomsterberg at the 150-meter wall. But Blomsterberg faded to fourth, with Lisa Mamie of Switzerland grabbing bronze.

Women’s 100 backstroke semifinals

Roos Vanotterdijk is a busy woman. With just 20 minutes of rest, she set the pace in the 100 back. She went 1:00.42, a tenth up on Danielle Hill or Ireland.

Adela Piskorska of Poland was third, the only other swimmer under 1:01. Lottie Cullen got a second Irish swimmer in the A final.

Men’s 50 breaststroke semifinals

Emre Sakci set the pace in 26.93, looking to add a long-course medal to his long career in short-course medals.

He’ll get a push, with .16 seconds separating the top four. Bernhard Reitshammer finishing second in 27.04 for Austria. Noel De Geus of Germany was second, followed by Israel’s Kristian Pitshugin in 27.09. Two swimmers, including 200 breast co-champ, Lyuobmir Epitropov, were disqualified from heat 1 of semifinals.

Women’s 50 freestyle semifinals

Jana Pavalic is the top seed for Croatia, having won a battle with Petra Senanszky for the middle lane. Pavalic went 24.67 to win, .04 up on Senanszky. Barbora Janickova, the runner-up in the 100 free, was third, with Denmark’s Julie Kepp Jensen fourth. It required 25.11 to make the final, with Kornelia Fiedkiewicz and Jessica Felsner tying for sixth in 25.00.

Men’s 200 butterfly semifinals

Kristof Milak is the leader in the men’s 200 fly, going 1:54.64. He already holds the second-best time in the world this year at 1:53.94 from Mare Nostrum.

Poland had two medal contenders in the brothers Chmielewski. Krzysztof Chmielewski was second in 1:55.12, with Michal Chmielewski third in 1:55.76. Hungary’s Richard Marton followed in 1:56.05.

Women’s 200 individual medley semifinals

Anastasia Gorbenko is in position to finish the IM double and add her fourth gold medal of these Euros, having led the way in semifinals in 2:11.61. The Israeli was eight tenths up on Tamara Potocka of Slovakia. Leah Schlosshan, in her second swim of the session, was third, ahead of Leah Polonsky.

Men’s 50 backstroke

For the fifth straight European Championships, Apostolos Christou is a backstroke medalist.

This time, it’s gold for the Greek international, .03 seconds shy of his national record set in 2022. He went 24.39 to get two Greeks on the podium, countryman Evangelos Makrygiannis following in third in 24.74.

The silver medal went to Ksawery Masiuk of Poland, who went 24.63. Michael Laitarovsky of Israel finished fourth in 24.76, with Hubert Kos fifth.

Women’s 1,500 freestyle

Vivien Jackl pulled a bit of a surprise out of lane two, pulling away early and keeping the field at bay to win in 16:06.37. It’s a best time for the 15-year-old, who went 16:14.39 at Hungarian Championships in April.

Jackl ended up winning by nearly 10 seconds. Celine Rieder of Germany claimed silver in 16:15.98, nearly two seconds clear of Great Britian’s Fleur Lewis. The top seed, Viktoria Mihalyvari Farkas was a distant fourth in 16:19.83, Lewis passing her for bronze with 100 meters to go. Germany’s Jeannette Spiwoks finished fifth.

Mixed 400 freestyle relay

Hungary capped the session by rallying for the mixed freestyle relay victory. The quartet of Hubert Kos, Szebasztian Szabo, Panna Ugrai and Nikolett Padar went 3:25.69 to get past Poland for gold by .84 seconds.

Hungary was just fourth after the men’s portion of the race, but Ugrai split 54.38 to take the lead, and Padar held it with a 53.71. Their splits were the fastest and fifth-fastest among the female swimmers.

Poland ran second thanks to Mateusz Chowaniec and Kamil Sieradzki. They dropped to fifth on Zuzanna Famulok’s leg, but Kornelia Fiedkiewicz climbed them back to silver in 3:26.53, about a half-second ahead of Germany. The Germans ran third the whole time, edging Israel by .01.

Serbia was first after two legs and second after three, but fell to fifth. Andrej Barna had the only sub-48 male split at 47.32.

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x