2022 EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, August 11 – Wednesday, August 17, 2022 (pool swimming)
- Rome, Italy
- Parco Del Foro Italico
- LCM (50m)
- Start Times
- Prelims: 9:00 am local / 3:00 am ET
- Finals: 6:00 pm local / 12:00 pm ET
- Meet Central
- Event Schedule
- Live Results
- Live Stream
There was a collective groan amongst swimming fans when it was announced that the star of the 2022 European Championships, David Popovici, would not be swimming the final of the men’s 400 freestyle on the last night of competition.
Coming off a pair of unbelievable performances in the men’s 100 and 200 free, including setting the world record in the former, anticipation was high for what the 17-year-old might be able to do in the 400, an event he hadn’t yet seriously pursued on the international stage.
After swimming a personal best time of 3:47.99 in the heats to advance fourth into the final, the Romanian superstar pulled out.
The reason for his withdrawal, as determined by his coach Adrian Rădulescu, was to give Popovici some recovery time before embarking on the World Junior Championships at the end of the month—his fourth major international meet of the year.
“Coach Adrian Rădulescu, along with the technical staff, decided to withdraw David Popovici from the 400m free final at the European Senior Swimming Championship in Rome,” said Romanian Swimming Federation President Camelia Potec in a statement.
“The busy schedule for the next period, the high consumption it would have had in the final and the desire to prepare as best as possible for the Junior World Championship in Lima (Peru) – a very strong competition – are the reasons that I stand by this decision.”
Rădulescu, Popovici’s longtime coach, said the primary reason for entering the 400 free was to use it as a “test” for the 100 and 200 free, but with them also putting an emphasis on World Juniors, he figured this was the right decision.
“The objective was to check ourselves at a European Senior Championship in the 400m freestyle, an important event primarily for the preparation of the other two, where the results were really brilliant, but that also came with fatigue,” Rădulescu said.
“The competition in Peru is equally important for us, where we want good results.”
In the 100 freestyle final, Popovici broke the European Record in the semi-finals with a time of 46.98 before lowering the 13-year-old world record with a swim of 46.86 in the final.
Two nights later in the 200 free, he swam to a time of 1:42.97, the fastest textile performance in history, to become the third-fastest man of all-time behind Paul Biedermann (1:42.00) and Michael Phelps (1:42.96).
Already having raced the World Championships in June, the European Junior Championships in July and the European Championships in August, Popovici will now head to the World Juniors, which will be his fourth major international competition in less than two and a half months. He also said he has designs on racing the Short Course World Championships in December.
The 2022 FINA World Junior Championships will take place from August 30 until September 4 in Lima, Peru.