Popovici Wins 400 Free, 14-Year-Old Prisecariu Sets 3rd Romanian Record at SC Nationals


David Popovici won his third national title of the weekend in the 400-meter freestyle at the Romanian Short Course Championships on Sunday in Otopeni.

The 18-year-old Popovici posted a time of 3:43.00, shaving more than three seconds off his previous best to edge 17-year-old Vlad Stancu. The 800 SCM free national record holder, Stancu touched less than a second behind Popovici in 3:43.76, lowering his previous-best mark of 3:43.99.

Popovici swept the 100 free and 200 free titles on Thursday and Friday before placing second behind Daniel Martin in the 100 IM on Saturday. Popovici also swam the 100 fly prelims on Sunday morning, but he scratched the final after qualifying second behind Martin in 52.67. Last year, he secured a pair of short-course national titles in the 200 IM and 400 IM.

“I wanted to win, but I have to learn to lose from time to time,” Popovici said after Saturday’s runner-up finish, which marked his first individual final defeat in over a year. “It’s a test I’m new to. I’m not really good at everything. Makes me hungry again… It reminds me that, ‘You see, you’re not really good at everything.’”

A hungry Popovici could be a dangerous sight at Short Course Worlds next month in Melbourne, where the 100 LCM free world record holder is set for a showdown with SCM record holder Kyle Chalmers.

Another national record went down on Sunday courtesy of 14-year-old Aissia Claudia Prisecariu, who set her third standard of the meet. She cruised to a victory in the 50 back with a time of 28.30, breaking Diana Mocanu’s mark that had stood since 2001 — seven years before Prisecariu was born.

Earlier in the meet, she became the first Romanian to clock a sub-1:00 time in the 100 back, triumphing in 59.84 to take down Mocanu’s 21-year-old record of 1:00.97. Prisecariu also went 2:08.97 in the 200 back to lower Carina Macavei’s national record of 2:09.29 from 2016.

Both Andrei Ungur and Alexandra Dobrin ended their weekends with two national title on Sunday. Ungur completed his double in the men’s 50 free (22.19) and 100 fly (51.84) while Dobrin placed first in the women’s 200 fly (2:11.96) and 400 IM (4:44.56). Earlier in the meet, Ungur had snagged a title in the 100 back (51.17), and Dobrin had already won the 200 IM (2:14.62).

Also picking up victories on Sunday were Mihai Gergely in the men’s 200 IM (1:58.67) and Ratiu Maysa in the women’s 100 free (54.84).

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19 days ago

Anything under 46 and 1:41 for Popovici at Worlds would be pretty good imo. He clearly trains for LCM and his technicals don’t line up with SCM as much that I can’t expect anything crazy like challenging Chalmers or Biederman’s SCM 200 record.

19 days ago

Is this a junior competition ?

Reply to  David
19 days ago

No, but Romania is seeing a surge in talent and quality, which often equates to young swimmers having success even at senior national championships.

19 days ago

1) Good first meet for Popovici, considering that he finished late last season with the World Juniors in LIma, so he restarted to swim at the end of September and he had just 5-6 weeks of training before this SC Nats: 3 “real” PBs (100 free and IM, 400 free, beyond the 52.67 in the 100 fly) for him, and clear improvements in his raw speed, while he has still to improve a lot his endurance in the 400 free, especially for the LC.
2) Aissia Claudia Prisecariu is an impressive talent in the backstroke. She has start and underwaters of a true 14 year-old, so with a lot of room for improvements, but is already amazing in her… Read more »

20 days ago

If Chalmers beats Popovici at Short course Worlds it may sting for a few days but it means nothing as far as who the better swimmer is. SCM is a great opportunity for Popovici to improve his start, turns and underwaters but LCM is what is important. In 2 months no one will care what happened at Short Course Worlds only the Long course WCs and the Olympics will matter. With the ISL folding SCM will become even less relevant. Chalmers 100free SCM WR is as close as he will ever get to the real 100free WR, especially once Popovici resets it to a 46 mid next year.

Last edited 20 days ago by Hank
Reply to  Hank
20 days ago

What are we missing? I don’t see where anyone said Chalmers or Popovici are “better” than each other, etc.

I think the community is just excited for some great races, should they come to fruition. 🤷

homey looking skinny
Reply to  Hank
19 days ago

hank youre a savage. Status quo – oly gold or 100 lcm wr?

Reply to  homey looking skinny
19 days ago

Who cares about what happened in 2016 now. It’s all about that WR line.

homey looking skinny
Reply to  Hank
19 days ago

yep oly gold and oly silver (after a massively disrupted prep) are scraps

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Hank
19 days ago

Yes SCM is historically weak comapred to LCM. Popovici has proved to be a great talent LCM. However Chalmers will beat Popovici at Short Course Worlds in the 100 Free.

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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