David Popovici Smashes European Championship Record with 47.20 100 Free


Double world champion David Popovici wasted no time breaking records on Friday morning in Rome. 

The 17-year-old Romanian sensation reset the European Championship record in the 100-meter freestyle prelims on Friday morning, clocking a 47.20 to lower the previous mark set last year by Kliment Kolesnikov (47.37). 

Kolesnikov and his Russian teammates were banned from the meet this year along with Belarusians for their country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

It was the second-fastest swim of Popovici’s career, less than one-tenth of a second slower than his world junior record of 47.13 from the World Championships in June. He cruised to the top qualifying spot headed into the semifinals later today with a comfortable lead four-tenths of a second ahead of the field. 


Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. David Popovici (ROU) – 47.20
  2. Alessandro Miressi (ITA) – 47.60
  3. Lorenzo Zazzeri (ITA) – 48.27
  4. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 48.31
  5. Nandor Nemeth (HUN) – 48.32
  6. Heiko Gigler (AUT) – 48.43
  7. Stan Pijnenburg (NED) – 48.57
  8. Andrej Barna (SRB) – 48.59
  9. Hadrien Salvan (FRA) – 48.60
  10. Manuel Frigo (ITA) – 48.76 (X – country limit)
  11. Thomas Dean (GBR) – 48.79
  12. Kristof Milak (HUN)/Diogo Matos Ribeiro (POR) – 48.88
  13. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 48.92 (X – country limit)
  14. Luis Dominguez (ESP) – 48.98
  15. Bjorn Seeliger (SWE) – 49.01
  16. Matthew Richards (GBR) – 49.02
  17. Charles Rihoux (FRA) – 49.15 (X – country limit)
  18. Karol Ostrowski (POL) – 49.22

Italy’s Alessandro Miressi (47.60) was the only other sub-48 swimmer in the field during prelims. The Italian record holder was just .15 seconds off his personal best. 

Popovici, who turns 18 next month, has already posted 11 sub-48 swims since he first broke the barrier last July at Euro Juniors. 

Popovici’s sub-48 swims

  1. 47.13 – 2022 Worlds
  2. 47.20 – 2022 Euros
  3. 47.30 – 2021 Euro Juniors
  4. 47.34 – 2022 Euro Juniors
  5. 47.54 – 2022 Euro Juniors
  6. 47.56 – 2021 Euro Juniors
  7. 47.58 – 2022 Worlds
  8. 47.60 – 2022 Worlds
  9. 47.69 – 2022 Euro Juniors
  10. 47.72 – 2021 Olympics
  11. 47.76 – 2022 Euro Juniors

Popovici paced himself well, going out in 22.93 and coming home in 24.27. Miressi split 23.12 on the front end before finishing the last lap in 24.48. 

The Euro Championship record might not be the last one Popovici takes down this week. He was just .09 seconds off Kolesnikov’s European record of 47.11 from last summer’s Olympic semifinal. He was also four-tenths of a second faster than his prelims time from Worlds, indicating a potential to go much faster here just two months later. Popovici’s lifetime best is .22 seconds shy of the world record held by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo with a 46.91, also from 2009. 

Popovic’s time would have earned him a bronze medal at last summer’s Olympics ahead of Kolesnikov and behind Australia’s Kyle Chalmers (47.08) and U.S. star Caeleb Dressel (47.02).

Also in the 100 free heats, Luis Dominguez became the first Spanish swimmer to go under 49 seconds in the event. He broke Sergio De Celis’ previous national record of 49.07 from last August.

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7 months ago

Was my comment taken down?

Steve Nolan
7 months ago

Jeez, and that’s basically as fast as Miressi was on relay splits at World’s but on a flat start here.

Outside Smoke
7 months ago

As legendary as it would be the take the WR in a major final, I think someone needs to just go for it the semis.

I still think back to Dressel’s 2017 semifinal swim where he coasted the final 10m to a 47.3… Dude was basically taking a bath by the end of it.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Outside Smoke
7 months ago

That was 2019

7 months ago

Why isn’t Alain Bernard’s 46.94 the euro record??

Reply to  Aman
7 months ago

Wind aided! 😂
Nah, seriously that’s a good question

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Breezeway
7 months ago

pretty sure he was wearing 2 suits. the decision to leave it unratified was probably an effort to take action against the supersuits, as this record was set 3 months before the suit ban was given a date

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
7 months ago

He wasn’t wearing 2 suits but he was wearing a non homologed suit from arena made of 100% polyurethan (like the Jakes one).

Reply to  Aman
7 months ago

He swam it in an X-glide before it was actually allowed.

I think the other early 2009 WR’s that fell into that bucket was Irie’s 1:52.7/152.8, which isn’t even listed as a WR on wiki, Bernard’s was but marked with a #.


7 months ago

If he goes 46.8 does that make CD more or less likely to return to the sport?

7 months ago

I would love to see that old WR go.

7 months ago

Where is Dressel???????

Go Kamminga Go
7 months ago

Was Popovici the reason why Caeleb Dressel quit and fled Budapest?

Reply to  Go Kamminga Go
7 months ago

Chlorinedaddy is scary af. I’d probably flee too.

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Go Kamminga Go
7 months ago

No and it is stupid to suggest this is the case.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
7 months ago

It is stupid to be the best swimmer in the world and be completely silent

Last edited 7 months ago by Cmon
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
7 months ago

how would you know this? Caeleb hasn’t said anything yet and that calls for speculation. It could be. we might never now

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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