Dressel, Kolesnikov, Others React To David Popovici’s Scorching 47.30 100 Free


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The swimming community was abuzz on Thursday after Romania’s David Popovici re-lowered his World Junior Record in the men’s 100 freestyle at the 2021 European Junior Championships, taking over the #1 time in the world in the process.

The 16-year-old first lowered the World Junior Record on the lead-off leg of Tuesday’s 4×100 free relay, clocking 47.56 to take out Andrei Minakov‘s 2020 mark of 47.57.

In the individual final two nights later, Popovici dropped a scintillating 47.30 to jump up from fourth to first in the world for 2020-21, leapfrogging Kliment KolesnikovCaeleb Dressel and Alessandro Miressi.

2020-2021 LCM Men 100 Free

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Kolesnikov, who had held the distinction as the fastest man in the world this season for three months up until that race, was among the swimmers offering a reaction to Popovici’s swim on social media:

Caeleb Dressel was asked about Popovici’s swim during his press conference on the 2021 Olympic media day, and he was very impressed with the 16-year-old.

The performance also drew reactions from three-time Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin, and five-time Olympian and 2004 bronze medalist George Bovell.

Bovell compared Popovici’s way of swimming freestyle to the likes of Alexander Popov and Gustavo Borges, a “finesse” style, compared to the power stroke we’ve seen from many of the world’s best sprinters in recent years.

Mexican Olympian Liliana Ibanez reacted to Popovici’s swim the way many of us did:

Popovici will take aim at another World Junior Record on Saturday, as he’ll swim the men’s 200 free final after taking nine-tenths off his Romanian Record in the semi-finals, clocking 1:45.26. The world junior record belongs to South Korea’s Hwang Sun-Woo in 1:44.96.

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Lex Soft
2 years ago

I like George Bovell’s opinion, because I like watching how Alexander Popov swam.

2 years ago

impressive time AND “@chlorinedaddy” is possibly the best instagram handle in swimming

2 years ago

what was Chalmers 100 Fr time at Trials??

Lex Soft
Reply to  Haha
2 years ago

He cannot be underestimated. His acceleration in the last 50m is always impressive. Look at what he did in the final of WC 2019.

2 years ago

The last time an American set a world record in the men’s 100 free lcm was in August 1988, when Matt Biondi swam 48.42. That happened 33 years ago, when John McClane was still gunning down German terrorists in American movie theaters (Die Hard hadn’t even premiered in Sweden at the time). Yippee-ki-yay *kids*! 😉

Last edited 2 years ago by Stefan
Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Talking about power sprinters we have also had Shaquille O’Neal!

Lex Soft
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Instead of Rowdy Gaines, we should begin with Jim Montgomery at 1976 Olympic. In the final, he became the 1st man who swam under 50, i.e 49.99 which was the new WR.

2 years ago

He may be a rookie, but he sure seems ready for his moment in Tokyo. The 100 and 200 free just got thrown a nasty curveball.

2 years ago

George Bovell’s comments echo my own thoughts I had after watching Popovici swim. Not only was his 47.30 swim possibly the single most impressive age-group swim of all time, especially at 16 (coupled with his 1:45.26 200FR), but his way of swimming seems to be one he shares with what I’ve noticed appears to be a ‘new breed’ of swimmers that harken back to days gone by. Technique driven, not necessarily power driven. I’d include Canadian Joshua Liendo (48.13 100FR and 51.40 100FL at 18), and Hungarian Kristoph Milak (needs no introduction) in this new wave, among a few others (Penny Oleksiak, Summer McIntosh, etc.), although with females it is a little bit more difficult to make the comparison due… Read more »

Reply to  SwimmerFan99
2 years ago

Bronze at 46 would be a stretch.Usually, 100 free final is a very nervous swim.Sometimes the semis are way stronger than final.

Reply to  SwimmerFan99
2 years ago

Phelps World Record at 15 is more impressive to me.

Reply to  SwimmerFan99
2 years ago

Mary T’s 2 records at age 16 that stood for 20 years.

He said what?
Reply to  TheloniusPunk
2 years ago

To show the strength of her records, even the East Germans couldn’t get close. They were swims for the ages – and she started setting world records at 14!!!!!

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
2 years ago

I’d say
3:49.64 14 yo 1997
3:44.35 15 yo 1998
3:41.83 16 yo 1999
3:40.59 17 yo 2000

are all more impressive since they’re all from 20+ years ago and are still “age group WRs” if you will. even the 16/17 yo times are faster than what any adult can throw down today. male-female comparisons are hard to make when they’re still age groupers since they generally peak at different times, but obviously there are some exceptions. still, for every phelps/thorpe (speaking purely in terms of how prolific an age grouper they are there are), there are like 50 penny oleksiaks. if we go an apple’s to apple’s comparison, egerzegi’s 200 back and Mary t’s fly… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Old Man Chalmers
Canadian Swammer
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
2 years ago

Thorpe was incredible for sure but what makes Popovici so impressive to me is that he is doing it in a power event like the 100fr. Even looking at the all time Olympic list with Chalmers at 18 this seems almost unprecedented. To me 16 is so far from 18 in an event like 100fr. Hope to see him go even faster in the Olympics, the 47.3 might already be the craziest age group time in my lifetime.

Relay Enthusiast
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
2 years ago

It’s going to take a 47 in the semis to make the final. This is the most stacked 100 free field ever with maybe only 2008 and 2009 coming anywhere close. It’s crazy to think that 47 high was winning world titles and 48.12 got a world bronze in 2015. That’s pedestrian now.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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