David Popovici Blasts 47.56 100 Free World Jr Record, #4 Worldwide This Season


  • Tuesday, July 6th – Sunday, July 11th
  • Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
  • Heats at 9:30am local (3:30am EST)/Finals at 6pm local (Noon EST)
  • LCM (50m)
  • Start Lists/Results

David Popovici has lowered the world junior record in the men’s 100 freestyle to a 47.56 during a 4×100 freestyle relay leadoff at the 2021 European Junior Swimming Championships. Popovici is just 16 years of age and was born on September 15, 2004.

The swim is an improvement upon Andrei Minakov‘s former world junior record in the event of 47.57 from back in 2020. Minakov was actually out faster in his world junior record-breaking swim, opening with a 22.84 compared to Popovici’s 23.07. Popovici managed to come back quicker, though allowing him to nab the WJR by just 1 one hundredth of a second.

Split Comparison:

Popovici 2021 Minakov 2020
50m 23.07 22.84
100m 24.49 (47.56) 24.73 (47.57)

Interestingly Popovici shaved only 0.01 seconds off Minakov’s previous record which is the same narrow margin that Minakov lowered the record by in 2020. Minakov’s 47.57 was only 0.01 seconds quicker than the 47.58 mark that Kyle Chalmers set to win gold at Rio 2016.

Popovici took the world junior record and the European junior record from Minakov and also lowered the European Junior Championships record of 48.32 which he set while swimming the leadoff of the relay during prelims.

The 47.57 by Popovici was also a new Romanian record in the event, improving upon the 48.08 he set at the 2021 European Championships. Popovici will have another 3 attempts at lowering his own world junior, European junior, Championships, and Romanian records in the event when he races in the prelims, semi-finals, and finals of the individual 100 freestyle later this week.

His early speed this summer bodes well for Popovici’s upcoming Olympic debut where he is expected to race the 100 freestyle for Romania. Popovici is now the 4th fastest swimmer in the world this season in the event behind Kliment Kolesnikov, Caeleb Dressel, and Alessandro Miressi.

2020-2021 LCM Men 100 Free

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Along with getting himself into the top 5 this season in the event, Popovici now sits among the top 20 fastest men in history. His swim makes him the 18th fastest man in the history of the event behind Nathan Adrian‘s 47.52 from the 2012 Olympic Games.

All-time Men’s 100 Freestyle Rankings

  1. Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 46.91 (2009)
  2. Alain Bernard (FRA) – 46.94 (2009)
  3. Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 46.96 (2019)
  4. Cam McEvoy (AUS) – 47.04 (2016)
  5. Eamon Sullivan (AUS) – 47.05 (2008)
  6. Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.08 (2019)
  7. James Magnussen (AUS) – 47.10 (2012)
  8. Freddy Bousquet (FRA) – 47.25 (2009)
  9. Brent Hayden (CAN) – 47.27 (2009)
  10. Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 47.31 (2021)
  11. David Walters (USA) – 47.33 (2009)
  12. Stefan Nystrand (SWE) – 47.37 (2009)
  13. Ryan Held (USA) – 47.39 (2019)
  14. Vladislav Grinev (RUS) – 47.43 (2019)
  15. Alessandro Miressi (ITA) – 47.45 (2021)
  16. Michael Phelps (USA) – 47.51 (2008)
  17. Nathan Adrian (USA) – 47.52 (2012)
  18. David Popovici (ROU) – 47.56 (2021)
  19. Andrei Minakov (RUS) – 47.57 (2020)
  20. Jason Lezak (USA) – 47.58 (2008)

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1 year ago

He will be 23 at his third Olympics in LA!!!!

Reply to  torchbearer
1 year ago

46.54 LA games

Last edited 1 year ago by dresselgoat
1 year ago

Based on his improvement scale the last couple months
Upvote is Popovici will be the first to split sub 46 or downvote if he will go a sub 1:43

1 year ago

If Dressel doesn’t win Olympic gold in the 100 free this year he never will.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Don’t worry Dressel will definitely pull it off. I say that he wins by 0.25-0.3. Also he could very likely pull it off again in Paris as it is only three years away and he’d be about 27

Reply to  TeamDressel
1 year ago

Na I reckon Chalmers 2 peats in Tokyo & looking to 3 peat in Paris with Popovic being a big danger.
Remember Chalmers is 2 years younger then Dressel & already is an Olympic champ in the 100 free.

Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

Lol Chalmers will not win in Tokyo. It will be a good race but Dressel will be 46.6 or faster while Chalmers will break 47.

Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

The thing is Dressel has the ability to drop time easily because he’s so detail oriented and so critical of himself. The amount of time he drops from year to year is probably more than any other swimmer. If you look at his time drops in yards from NCAAs and ISL(especially that 100 IM) it is ridiculous how he keeps on finding ways to set the bar higher. If you think his 46.96 is even close to what he’s gonna swim in Tokyo you would be wrong. I can guarantee you a drop of at least 3 tenths. The man went a 17.63 in a 50 yard free and broke 40 at the end of a long meet. I don’t… Read more »

1 year ago

Looking at that list, I wonder what McEvoy, Sullivan, Chalmers & Magnussen could have pulled off on 4×1 back in the day…

Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
1 year ago

It’s kind of like the Schmitt/Ledecky/Franklin American women’s 800 free relay that almost came together but never really quite landed in the right spots at the right time. With Simone as the fourth leg, felt like they could’ve gone 7:38 or 7:37.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Hoping and praying that the Canadians can pull off this wishful “perform at the right time” effort in both free relays:

Ruck 154 low from 2018
Penny 154 low relay split from 2019
Summer 156.1 at trials, obviously potential for a 55,54, or dare we say 53 split is there…
4th leg – any of the other solid reliable women who have split 156 in recent years: Sanchez, Smith, Savard…

Those dream splits are also well under 740…

1 year ago

Unreal swim! And he doesn’t have a super symmetric stroke ala Popov or Thorpe. Popovici is more of a long, loping stroke. But man does he generate power, especially coming home 😲

1 year ago

I would like to point out there are only 8 super suited times in the top 20 now!

1 year ago

This isn’t really relevant but I thought this would be a good place to post because of the amount of traffic-

But to Braden & swimswam, would it be possible to render a “safe-for-work” mode of the swimswam website. Same written content/comments (the visuals of a “boring/normal news article”), just without the images/obvious signs that what we are reading is not work.

I think it would save my life (and career :)) in the coming months. I hope many agree with this.

Reply to  John26
1 year ago

Ha. Clever idea. Will add it to the to-do list.

Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago
M Palota
Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

That 2nd 50! Good lord, kid’s a train coming home!

Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

He’s so lanky, I can’t imagine what he’s going to be going once he gets some more muscle on him

Willem Heskes
Reply to  PVSFree
1 year ago

More muscle more resistance? His leanness is part of his speed… Agnel, Scott, lean super fast guys, even the great Popov wasn’t so big. Building strength vs adding mass, in the water that’s a trade-off

Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

Thank you, do you know if it is available somewhere with higher resolution?

Distance Per Stroke
Reply to  Dan
1 year ago

Not that I saw when looking for it.

Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

man those are some thorpe-ish arms right there