Faster Than Dressel At 16, Popovici (ROU) Hits Lifetime Best 49.26 100 Free


  • September 30th – October 3rd
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • LCM (50m)

Young stars are emerging from seemingly every corner of the globe in the sport of swimming.

For instance, late last month we saw an eye-popping outing in the men’s 100m freestyle from Japanese 16-year-old Konosuke Yanagimoto. Yanagimoto hit a big-time personal best of 49.41 to establish a new Japanese High School Record.

Splitting 23.77/25.64, Yanagimoto’s 49.41 PB would have ranked him as the 3rd fastest 15-16-year-old all-time in the United States, sitting only behind Caeleb Dressel’s 49.28 and Destin Lasco’s 49.40.

However, flash forward to this weekend and another promising talent has raced his way to the forefront in the form of Romania’s David Popovici.

Popovici already made his mark on the international racing scene through his breakthrough performances at last year’s European Youth Olympic Festival. There in Baku Popovici beat out Great Britain’s teen sensation Jacob Whittle in the men’s 100m freestyle, posting a lifetime best of 49.82 as a 14-year-old.

Now at age 16 (birth date is 09/15/2004), Popovici found another gear to top the 100m free podium at this year’s Romanian National Championships. The teen blasted a new personal best of 49.26 on the final day of competition in Bucharest.

His 49.26 would rank the Romanian faster than multi-Olympic medalist and multi-world champion Caeleb Dressel‘s aforementioned 49.28 from his 15-16 age group days. Additionally, Popovici inserts himself onto the list of Europe’s fastest 18 & U for the season in slot #2 behind Russia’s Andrei Minakov.

1. 48.78, Andrei Minakov (RUS)
2. 49.26, David Popovici (ROU) 
3. 49.27, Josif Miladinov (BUL)
4. 49.54, Matt Richards (GBR)
5. 49.57, Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR)

Popovici owns two FINA ‘B’ Olympic-qualifying times for next year’s Games in Tokyo, including the 100m and 200m freestyle events. The freestyle ace is coached by Adrian Radulescu of CSA Steaua Bucaresti.

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The Real Splash Brothers
2 years ago

Young international speed seems to be blowing up right now…still waiting for Franko Grgić to pop off in the 1500 after the 14:46 magic of 2019

Daniel Jablonski
2 years ago

Seeing that 2004 birthdate makes me feel old…

2 years ago

More importantly, we have found Coleman’s hair apparent.

2 years ago

Those sneaky Romanians…

2 years ago

Race video? Enjoyed watching Yanagimoto.

Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
2 years ago
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
2 years ago

I don’t know if it is available everywhere, anyway on Popovici FB page there all his races at these National Champs.

2 years ago

So he’s only just turned 16? Maybe he can better Chalmers’ 48.69 before he turns 17.

Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago

Chalmers is the second fastest at 17
Matheus santana was 48,61

Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

48.03 at 17 Kyle

Where the wall go?
Reply to  Gheko
2 years ago

Cam Mcevoy also went 48 at 16. Got to watch him beat Thorpe’s record, was pretty amazing!

Reply to  Where the wall go?
2 years ago

That was 17 wasn’t it?

Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago

Yes. 48.58 I think at 17, not 16 for McEvoy

The Importer AND Exporter
2 years ago

Dude is swole.

2 years ago

Lot of young international talent popping up in this past year! Excited to see some juniors match up against veterans for these Olympics spots.

Reply to  Yaboi
2 years ago

Yes, exciting seasons to come, and the 100 free at Paris 2024 could be something never seen before (Dressel, Chalmers and Scott vs the new generation of sprinters) indeed. Only time will tell, but imo David Popovici could be much more than the statistical results he has already obtained (fastest 14 year-old with his 49.82 at Eyof and now this 49.26 at 16 flat) for some reasons: 1) His talent is clear watching him swimming 2) There is a wise long-term approach followed by his coach: so just a few meets, seeking a gradual improvement with the daily training work. Some results of his career: in his most important event where he’s raced till now, the Eyof 2019 at Baku,… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by nuotofan

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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