16-Yr-Old David Popovici Rips 1:46.15 200 Free At Romanian Nats

2021 ROMANIAN NATIONALS

While competing at the 2021 Romanian Nationals, seemingly always improving 16-year-old David Popovici powered his way to a super quick lifetime best and national record in the men’s 200m freestyle. The teen who has been dropping time left and right stopped the clock this weekend in a 1:46.15 stunner.

Popovici’s time from here in Bucharest destroyed his previous PB of 1:48.38, a mark he produced at this year’s European Championships. At Euros in Budapest, Popovici placed 20th, with his result checking in as a new national record. Splits for the teen in that swim included 53.35/55.03.

David Popovici, photo: Tudor Pirvu

Flash forward to this past weekend, however, and Popovici skipped right over the 1:47 zone and entered 1:46 territory in this 2free event, with his 1:46.15 dropping over 2 seconds from his May performance.

The digital clock inset in the video is difficult to read but it looks like Popovici was about 51.97 to his feet, which means he brought it home in roughly 54.18, with his elongated stroke pulling major water in a race essentially by himself.

For perspective on this 200m free, this Romanian weapon would own the American National Age Group Record by a mile, with his 1:46.15 easily sitting under Luca Urlando’s 1:47.73 from 2019. He now ranks 20th in the world in this event.

On his performance, Popovici told SwimSwam, “I trained for this 1:46 time but didn’t quite manage to achieve it in my last races.

“I started the race determined and ready to provide to myself that I can do it.”

He insightfully shared, “Actually, making it [the time] only showed me how good a friend of mine my brain is. I definitely learned a lesson about what I’m capable of achieving when I put my mind to it.”

Popovici also raced the 50m free in this meet where he notched a mark of 22.60, not terribly off his PB of 22.43.

Popovici thanks his coach Adrian Radulescu and now already has his sights set on dropping under 1:46 in this event, as well as pairing it with a sub-48 second performance in the 100m free.

That’s not that tall of an order in either event, with Popovici ripping a lifetime best of 48.08 in the 100m free at the European Championships to place 6th, again at just 16 years of age.

As a reminder, the World Junior Record for men in this event his held by South Korea’s Hwang Sun Woo in 1:44.96 from just this past May.

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Philip Johnson
1 year ago

I want to see him and that Korean kid duke it out.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 year ago

Looking at Oleksiak back in 2016, I learned to never underestimate youngsters performing well ahead of the games, he will be finalist at least and even get a medal

john26
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 year ago

it would be insane for him to medal in the 100/200 fields this year (in contrast to the 2016 fields for the same events).
Bronze will kiely got for 47.2-47.4 & ~1:44.8. So half second faster than 2016 for each.

deepblue
1 year ago

Is Popovici the 2nd coming of Popov???

nuotofan
Reply to  deepblue
1 year ago

There are similarities (smooth stroke and that self-confidence typical of the great champions), but I think that Popovici will be more 100-200 free oriented (and he’s also a good 200 Imer too). Popov was an immense 50-100 freer, after he began as a backstroker.

Last edited 1 year ago by nuotofan
Mojo
Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

Strange enough, Popovici started as a backstroker, too

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  deepblue
1 year ago

More like second coming of PVDH

Troyy
1 year ago

Probably Ian Thorpe 1:46.00

FanofNuotofan
1 year ago

The european junior record is 1:46.13

AnEn
Reply to  FanofNuotofan
1 year ago

More of a technicality: I think this is a target time. I don’t think anyone actually swam that time, but LEN decided (for whatever reason) that someone would have to swim at least 1:46.13 for his time to be recognized as an european junior record. The same is true for the european junior record in men’s 200 breast (2:09.64) and many events on the women’s side (50/200/1500 free, 200 back, 50/100/200 fly, 200 IM, 4×100 free relay). Also obviously they didn’t count times that were achieved before the introduction of those records (for example i think that Izotov went 1:43.x in the 200 free before those records were introduced). In some events those target times seem a bit “ambitious”, for… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by AnEn
Negyvegyes
Reply to  AnEn
1 year ago

The “real” European Junior Records:
M200FR: 1:43.90 Daniil Izotov (2009, Rome)
M200BR: 2:09.64 Anton Chupkov (2015, Kazan)
W50FR: 24.88 Rozaliya Nasretdinova (2014, Nanjing)
W200FR: 1:56.78 Franziska Van Almsick (1994, Rome)
W1500FR: 16:02.29 Grainne Murphy (2010, Budapest)
W200BK: 2:06.62 Krisztina Egerszegi (1991, Athens)
W50FL: 25.66 Sarah Sjöström (2009, Rome)
W100FL: 56.06 Sarah Sjöström (2009, Rome)
W200FL: 2:06.71 Emese Kovács (2008, Eindhoven)
W200IM: 2:11.03 Viktoria Zeynep Gunes (2015, Singapore)
W4x100FR: 3:39.91 Russia (2015, Singapore)

In most event the target time is the “real” record, but the LEN don’t want to recognize them as official records. The only exceptions are the M200FR and the W100FL, those target times weren’t actual swims (super… Read more »

Anthony Preda
1 year ago

Here’s a hot take (expecting downvotes)

He eventually takes down atleast one of Biedermann’s WRs, if and only if he does not pursue NCAA swimming.

To David and Adrian:

Felicitări și toate cele bune, și eu sunt Român

Khachaturian
Reply to  Anthony Preda
1 year ago

If he goes faster than Izotov by 18, yes

AnEn
Reply to  Anthony Preda
1 year ago

1) Weird prediction, especially because there is no way to test it if he doesnt go to NCAA. Even if he doesn’t go to NCAA and breaks a world record, we won’t know if he wouldn’t have done the same while/after going to NCAA. If he goes to NCAA and doesn’t break a world record, we have no way of knowing if the outcome would have been any different if he wouldnt have gone down that road.

2) Has he ever shown anything in the 400 free? Also not sure if we won’t have to wait for genetically engineered humans to see someone break 1:42.

Swammer
Reply to  Anthony Preda
1 year ago

He’s technically a sprinter but him and his coach have been wise enough to train up for the 200. I don’t know that him or his coach have any interest in the 400 but looking at his stroke he could have a killer 400. I won’t make a time prediction but I’ll say he could probably beat most of the Americans in the 400.

Mr Piano
1 year ago

Ian Thorpe talent

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

I don’t think so.

At 16 yo, Thorpe had broken several WRs.

nuotofan
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

But Thorpe, obviously incredible talent and certainly one of the best freer ever, had also a very different structure (I’d say different from anyone else). Between 16 and 19 year-old Thorpe was at his best.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

We now know Thorpe dealt with personal conflicts that cut short his career

Also he never had a good coach. Thorpe really didn’t fully realize his potentials. His original coach never had any other successful swimmer. And his second coach had never coached anyone in her life.

What could have happened if he had had coach the quality of Gennady Touretsky, Lawrie Laurence, Bill Sweetenham, Eddie Reese, etc.

Last edited 1 year ago by Texas Tap Water
nuotofan
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

Ok, I simply pointed out how Thorpe at 16 was already physically powerful (while Popovici is pretty slim) and Thorpe’s career, not my opinion, tells us that 2001 (when he was 18-19 year-old) was his best year. I thought that those facts were pretty obvious, sorry for my fault..

Mr Piano
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

I’m not saying he’s as good as Thorpe, but he’s comparable. Thorpe did his times in briefs in 1999 so he’d probably have been even much faster

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

The announcer sure was impressed.

Rou Guy
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

They clearly need to work on that 😐

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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