Popovici Snags First Senior Elite Int’l Title With 200 Free Victory In Kazan


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17-year-old David Popovici just earned the first elite senior international title of his career, taking the men’s 200m freestyle tonight in Kazan at these European Short Course Championships. Hitting the wall in a time of 1:42.12, Popovici logged a new personal best as well as a new Romanian national record to stand atop the podium.

Dutchmen Luc Kroon and Stan Pijnenburg were also right there in the mix to make this race come down to the finish.

Kroon, who already took 400m free gold earlier in this meet, punched a time of 1:42.20 to Pijnenburg’s 1:42.51, with the trio of medalists all separated by less than half a second.

For Popovici, the teen opened in 50.06 and closed in 52.06 to get the job done tonight, overtaking his previous personal best of 1:43.08 he produced in the semi-final of this event. That result in itself overtook his previs PB of 1:43.56 he put up just a week ago at the FINA World Cup Series stop in this same city. As such, the Romanian has hacked well over a second off this race in a matter of days.

While Popovici’s time was a solid effort, he still has some work to do if he wants to challenge Matt Sates‘ fresh 200 freestyle world junior record which sits at a 1:40.65 from just a few weeks ago in Berlin.

Later on in tonight’s session, Popovici also posted a time of 47.21 to check in as the 2nd reservist for tomorrow night’s 100m free final.

Popovici holds both the 100 and 200 freestyle Romanian records in the short course and long course versions of the events. He set the long course records of 47.30 (also a world junior record) at European Junior Championships and of 1:44.68 at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year. His 100 freestyle short course record is a 46.77 from the Kazan World Cup meet.

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2 years ago
2 years ago

This guy is here to stay.
I know I am stating the obvious.

Reply to  Luigi
2 years ago

…and we are talking like he was a veteran. At what level he will be in 4 years?

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  DDias
2 years ago

Hopefully 1:41.99 LCM level


Actually this is one of his targets.

2 years ago

Having in mind he trained less than a month in a 25m pool, this gold medal is even more important. Also, this is only his third competition in SC so more to come.

2 years ago

Race video: https://youtu.be/zA7pgaBvZYc

He has a 1:40.0 in him, just need to improve his underwaters

Last edited 2 years ago by jussibjoerling
Reply to  jussibjoerling
2 years ago

I’ve got to say, even though he did not medal, Girev’s languid stroke is impressive and beautiful to watch.

Reply to  Luigi
2 years ago

Ever since I saw him in 2017 world juniors I’ve been in awe of him

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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