World Championships: David Popovici and Caeleb Dressel Headline Qualifying in 100 Freestyle; World Record in Jeopardy


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World Championships: David Popovici and Caeleb Dressel Headline Qualifying in 100 Freestyle; World Record in Jeopardy

Coming off a scintillating performance in the 200-meter freestyle, where he captured his initial world title, Romanian teenager David Popovici transferred that success into the 100 freestyle. The 17-year-old star blazed through his preliminary heat of the World Championships, clocking 47.60 for the top seed in the semifinals. More, Popovici was just .30 off his world-junior record, which sits at 47.30.

Meanwhile, reigning Olympic and world champ Caeleb Dressel of the United States was the only other athlete to crack the 48-second barrier, as he touched the wall in 47.95. Dressel has already led Team USA to victory in the 400 freestyle relay and topped the field in the 50 butterfly.

The world record in the 100 freestyle sits at 46.91, held by Brazilian Cesar Cielo since the suit circus of 2009. Given the talent of Popovici and Dressel, it might take a global standard to secure the gold medal in Budapest.

Serbia’s Andrej Barna and Canadian Joshua Liendo finished third and fourth in respective marks of 48.15 and 48.16, with the fifth place in the semifinals going to Frenchman Maxime Grousset in 48.17.

In a surprise result, Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo tied for 17th with Australia’s Zac Incerti at 48.61. That performance was likely a miscalculation by the teenage Hwang, as he was the silver medalist to Popovici in the 200 freestyle with a sub-1:45 effort. If someone ahead of Hwang and Incerti scratches, a swimoff will be required for a semifinal berth.

Although he is in Budapest, Australian Kyle Chalmers is the biggest name missing from the event. The 2016 Olympic titlist and silver medalist at the Tokyo Games, Chalmers made a late decision to attend the World Champs, but is racing only the 100 butterfly on an individual basis. Chalmers, though, will contest the 100 freestyle later this summer at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.



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9 days ago

That headline was a little click baity.

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