Rebecca Diaconescu Downs 38-Year-Old Romanian Record; David Popovici Wins 4th Title

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Rebecca Diaconescu Downs 38-Year-Old Romanian Record; David Popovici Wins 4th Title

Rebecca Diaconescu went 55.15 in the women’s 100 freestyle Saturday at the Romanian Championships to down a national record set in 1986.

It was the highlight of the fourth and penultimate day of the meet that included David Popovici winning his fourth national crown of the meet, in the men’s 100 free.

Diaconescu flirted with the record by going 55.58 in prelims. She then sped up to 55.15 in finals, edging the 55.75 of Irina Preda. The time remains short of the Olympic A cut of 53.88.

That time takes down a long-standing record, set in December 1986 by Tamara Costache at 55.40. Costache held a world record in the women’s 50 freestyle, an event in which she finished sixth at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and won the World Championship in 1986 in Madrid.

Diaconescu comes through the Sandpipers of Nevada pipeline in the United States. The high school senior is a University of Michigan commit. Her previous best time was 55.63 from European Junior Championships in 2023. She had been 54.90 off the end of a relay at Euro Juniors.

Popovici clocked in at 47.86 seconds to win the men’s 100 free. He went 48.52 in the morning. He sped up to within a second of his best time, which was once a world record.

He was well clear of runner-up Patrick Sebastian Dinu, who went 49.16. George Ratiu was the only other one to break 50 seconds, in third in 49.53, though Richard Szilagyi had done so at 49.62 in prelims before sliding to fourth.

Popovici has made a clean sweep of the freestyle events, winning the 50, 100, 200 and 400 at the national championships.

Robert-Andrei Badea lowered his national record in the men’s 400 individual medley by a massive leap, going 4:16.43.  Badea had been 4:18.43 at Worlds in Doha to knock a quarter-second off Vlad Stancu’s record from last summer’s Romanian Cup. But he’s now more than two seconds quicker than the time set by Stancu, who didn’t swim the event this week. Badea’s time remains still 2.5 seconds shy of the Olympic consideration cut.

Daria Silisteanu won the women’s 50 backstroke in 28.78, three tenths off her national record. Tamara Lospa won an exciting women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:11.79, just outtouching Daria Asaftei (1:11.93) and Alescia Tenciu (1:12.05). Lopsa was third in the women’s 400 IM, though well back of Ana Maria Sibiseanu’s winning team of 4:54.04.

Denis Popescu won the men’s 50 back in 24.97, .01 slower than he had been in prelims. Daniel Nicusan broke 1:02 in the morning but was slower at night to win the men’s 100 breast in 1:20.67.

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