16-Yr-Old Popovici Scorches 1:44.68 200 Free European Junior Record


The men’s 200m freestyle was one of the most anticipated race of these Olympic Games, with the entire field of eight capable of taking home the gold.

Ultimately, it was a 1-2 British punch, led by Tom Dean who took gold in a new British record of 1:44.22 followed by Duncan Scott who posted a huge personal best of 1:44.26.

Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer claimed the bronze in 1:44.66 but just .02 behind was Romanian teenager David Popovici who checked in with 1:44.68 for 4th place. As a consolation, 16-year-old Popovici notched a new European Junior Record for his effort.

Heading into this competition, Popovici’s personal best rested at the 1:45.26 he posted in the semi-finals of the men’s 200m free at this year’s European Championships. That result checked in as the official European Junior Record, in addition to a Romanian national record.

Earlier here in Tokyo, the Romanian hit a prelim swim of 1:45.32 then dropped that down to his first sub-1:45 outing ever.

Of note, the Olympic final in Rio saw just one swimmer, Sun Yang of China, snag a 1:44-time whereas here the top 4 were all under that barrier.

With his top 4 result, Popovici overtakes his own European Junior Record and sets himself up for a potentially explosive 100m freestyle individual event here. He will also be taking on the 50m free race toward the end of the meet.

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1 month ago

The future is now. It feels similar to when Phelps was 15 and crushing out 200 butterfly races with Malchow.

Last edited 1 month ago by Marmot
1 month ago

Absolutely incredible! It’s hard to believe he didn’t win a medal with 1:44.6 but fantastic time nonetheless

1 month ago

Mark my words this kid is going to be completely unbeatable in the next decade in the 100/200. Just looks easy for him

Mr Piano
Reply to  Realist
1 month ago

He’s the one who can break the cursed 1:42.00 WR

Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

That back half of his 100 is already completely absurd once he figures the 200 out properly he’s gonna be operating in that 1:42 zone. 1:41 something still feels impossible but if anyone can do it

1 month ago

The chosen one

1 month ago

SwimSwam would go nuts if this kid would beat Dressel/Chalmers in a 100

1 month ago

The PDVH-model freestyler is back in vogue!

1 month ago

This guy is incredible. The only question is whether he will wait until Fukuoka 2022 to go 1:43 (for starters) or will do it before.

Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

He reminds me vwey much like Pieter VDH.

Great in 100-200.

PVDH finished 4th in 200free in his first Olympics (1996 Atlanta). Popovici did the same.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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