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.
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.