David Popovici Crushes European Record With 46.98 100 Free



So, David Popovici just broke a ton of records with his 46.98 in the 100 free semifinal at the 2022 European Championships.

First off, he took down his European Championship record time of 47.20, which he had set in prelims this morning. Also gone was his World Junior Record mark of 47.13, which he clocked in the semi-finals at the World Championships earlier this year. And the biggest record of them all that was broken was Kliment Kolesnikov‘s European record time of 47.11 (Alain Bernard is still the fastest European of all time, but his PB of 46.94 was never ratified as a record by FINA because it was swam in a non-approved swimsuit).

Popovici is now the fourth-fastest performer of all-time, the second-fastest textile performer of all time behind Caeleb Dressel, and the fourth man to go under the 47-second barrier. He is now just 0.07 seconds away from Cesar Cielo‘s world record time of 46.91.

Top Five Performers, Men’s 100 Free:

  1. Cesar Cielo, Brazil — 46.91 (2009)
  2. Alain Bernard, France — 46.94 (2009)
  3. Caeleb Dressel, United States — 46.96 (2019)
  4. David Popovici, Romania — 46.98 (2022)
  5. Cameron McEvoy, Australia — 47.04 (2016)

At 17 years old, Popovici is the youngest-ever to break 47 seconds, as Cielo was 22, Bernard was 25, and Dressel was 22.

In his race, Popovici went out in 22.93 and closed in a roaring 24.05, which overtakes Andrei Minakov‘s 24.11 from 2020 the fastest back half split of all-time.

Fastest Back Half Splits Of All-Time, Men’s 100 Free:

  1. David Popovici, Romania — 24.05/46.98 (2022)
  2. Andrei Minakov, Russia — 24.11/48.45 (2020)
  3. David Popovici, Romania — 24.19/47.54 (2022)
  4. Michael Phelps, United States — 24.20/47.51 (2008)
  5. Kyle Chalmers, Australia — 24.22/47.35 (2019)

Compared to the world record holder, Popovici paced his race extremely differently. Cielo took out his race very fast, while Popovici’s swim had a strong emphasis on the back half.

David Popovici vs. Cesar Cielo Splits:

David Popovici, 2022 European Championships Cesar Cielo, 2009 World Championships
50m 22.93 22.17
100m 24.05 24.74
Total 46.98 46.91

With his win at the 2022 World Championships and now a European record, Popovici has clearly established himself as the best 100 freestyler in the world this year.

Watch Popovici’s race video here, countesy of “For the love of sport” on YouTube:



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Alison England
1 year ago

Is he swimming World Junior Champs too?

Reply to  Alison England
1 year ago

He will

The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago


BTW the commentary on the video sounds like it is on a loudspeaker and man it was cringe. Are the swimmers hearing that?

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

They are not hearing that commentary, there is a video on the European Aquatics YouTube channel. You can hear there what they are hearing

1 year ago

Just curious, never seen Popovici race either one of the big three (Chalmers, Kolesnikov, Dressel) since Tokyo in an LCM 100 Free despite the ten times and more he went 47.xx this year. His times are phenomenal, but he needs that experience racing another freak back-half like Chalmers

Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

That’s on them, not him. Popovici swam at WCs, and now he’s doing Euros.

Alison England
Reply to  Flipperz
1 year ago

Kolesnikov has no choice!

Max Hardie
Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

He won Worlds and tomorrow Euro. Dressel quit and Chalmers opted not to race…

Reply to  Max Hardie
1 year ago

Charmers didn’t think he’d be fit enough after his most recent surgery.

Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

The waves by Dressel and Chalmers would knock Chlorine Kid out of the pool.

Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

The comments here if Popovici and McIntosh announce to Stanford

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Why? So that an American coach can try to sabotage Popovici’s technique so that Dressel can beat him in the future?

Go Kamminga Go
1 year ago

Now it’s clear Dressel suffered from Popovicitis and had to withdraw from World Championship.

maximum mchuge
Reply to  Go Kamminga Go
1 year ago

Attitudes like this are setting us back

Last edited 1 year ago by Lucas Caswell
Go Kamminga Go
Reply to  maximum mchuge
1 year ago

Radio silence attitude about the most active successful male swimmer is setting swimming back as an amateur sport, and will never progress to become a popular, professional sport as swimming community has been dreaming for decades.

Even Simone Biles immediate announced her mental health problem when she withdrew in the middle of competition in Tokyo.

That’s one reason gymnastics is a lot more popular than swimming. Because their stars care about fans.

Last edited 1 year ago by Go Kamminga Go
Mr Piano
Reply to  Go Kamminga Go
1 year ago

This makes no sense at all. Yes, people don’t care about swimming because…… Dressel isn’t giving details? That’s BS. Phelps, the most popular swimmer of all time, was probably one of the most secretive and secluded as well. Swimming’s popularity has nothing to do with the fact that Dressel is quiet, it has to do with the fact that not as many people find it as interesting. Swimming’s already fine as it is, I don’t know why this terrible talking point gets regurgitated around here.

Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

Without commenting on what Kamminga said, this isn’t really true is it? I don’t recall Phelps ever being “secretive”. The biggest scandal to ever hit him was extremely public and he talked publicly about it. Also, even if this was true, it’s a bit silly to say “well Phelps was quiet and still popular therefore you’re wrong”. Phelps is the most successful Olympian in history. He’s not exactly bound by the same rules that would typically apply to your average Olympic swimmer is he?

1 year ago

He only took maybe 4 kicks off the wall and appeared to breathe off the turn. Just incredible speed on top of the water. He’s got time to improve the start and turn and gain strength as he gets older. Fun to think about what he may be capable of at his peak.

Reply to  zdhamme86
1 year ago

I too thought “what will happen when he’s stronger”?
But why does he need much more strength, actually (it will probably happen anyway when he matures)?
Looks like he’s doing quite ok the way he is.

Last edited 1 year ago by Swifter
1 year ago

This was an amazing swim. I think he just jumped to gold favourite in Paris.

I definitely don’t think we should expect another record in the final though. He definitely used the semi as his chance to break records and his final will almost certainly be slower. I would love to be proven wrong though

Smooth Acorn
1 year ago

A minor detail: Cameron McEvoy’s 2016 Olympic Trials performance was 47.04, not 47.05.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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