The Fastest 18 & Under Swimmers Of All-Time In The Men’s 100 Freestyle

In the last few days, Romanian David Popovici lowered the men’s 100 freestyle world junior record twice at the 2021 European Junior Swimming Championships. Popovici first brought the world junior record down to a 47.56 on day 1 of the meet while swimming the opening leg of Romania’s 4×100 freestyle relay. Then he did it again in the final of the individual event with an astonishing 47.30.

A junior swimmer in men’s swimming must be 18 years of age or younger as of December 31st of the year of the swim. That’s why Popovici’s feat is so impressive, since he will turn 17 in September.

To put his performance in perspective, Instagram’s Swimming Stats page has published the all-time list of the fastest 18-year-old & under in men’s 100 freestyle.

In the top 15 18&U in the history of the event, Popovici is the youngest one. In fact, he is the only swimmer under 17 on the list. The closest to him is Russian Ivan Girev, who was 17 years and 55 days in 2017 with a 48.33, more than one second slower than Popovici.

The Romanian is also almost two full years younger than the previous world junior record holder, Andrei Minakov, when the Russian set a 47.57 at the Russian Nationals last year.

Note that not all swimmers on this list were junior swimmers at the day of their swims. For example, Jack Cartwright recorded a 47.97 in 2017 at 18 years and 307 days of age, but on December 31st of that year, he already had turned 19.

The first 18-year-old to crack the 48-second barrier was Kyle Chalmers during the preliminary heats at the 2016 Olympics with a 47.90. He would break the world junior record twice more in Rio (47.88 in the semis and 47.58 in the final, which he won).

Then, Minakov broke Chalmers’ record last year with that 47.57, just to be surpassed twice this week by Popovici.

The first 18&U swimmer to crack the 49-second barrier in the men’s 100 freestyle was Ian Thorpe, with a 48.96 during the 2001 World Championships. It took 15 years for a 18-year-old enter in the 47-second territory. Five years from 2016, David Popovici is getting close to a 46. And he has more than two years ahead of him as a 18&U swimmer. How far can he go?

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TheloniusPunk
15 days ago

Outlier

Last edited 15 days ago by TheloniusPunk
sggs
15 days ago

hwang 17 years and 357 days sounds like 18 years to me🧐

Nick
Reply to  sggs
15 days ago

There’s 365 days in year…

sggs
Reply to  Nick
15 days ago

maybe where ur from

Dan
Reply to  sggs
14 days ago

unless you count every 4th year when it is 366 days in a year

CRD
Reply to  sggs
14 days ago

The only exanation to this comment is that you’re from another planet 😂

CRD
Reply to  CRD
14 days ago

*explanation

frug
Reply to  Nick
14 days ago

Maybe he is speaking of Lunar Years which are 354.37 days long.

Last edited 14 days ago by frug
swimfast
Reply to  sggs
14 days ago

Lol this is pure dyslexia

Darren Ward
Reply to  sggs
13 days ago

Kinda like 49.85 is a 50.00?

Dee
15 days ago

Five of them coming post-covid lockdown (in the West) is quite the statistic. Is the 100fr about to get a whole lot faster? Certainly feels like it.

Clutch
Reply to  Dee
15 days ago

Same is true for the 200m. Since the short era of Agnel a low/mid 1:45 was always good enough to medal or even win the race at WC/Olympics.
With Scott, Dean, Rapsys, Malyutin, Matsumoto, Hwang and Popovici, I can not see this happening in the coming years. And most of them are still quite young…Might need a mid 1:44 to medal.

Dee
Reply to  Clutch
15 days ago

Even behind them you have Winnington, Neill, Richards, Shchegolev & Girev… All born 2000 or later, and all have been 1.45 already this year.

I think that top 15 (for the 100) will be revised in a few weeks too. Spoke to somebody at Luff who was waxing lyrical about the times a certain young man is doing in training.

LAWolf
Reply to  Dee
14 days ago

The 200 certainly seems the event to win
Copious amount of talent fighting for the podium

The 100 will perhaps see a WR, perhaps This is the reason Scott has scratched the race to concentrate on the above

You Don’t Say
Reply to  Dee
15 days ago

Forced taper then forced focus beneficial perhaps?

AnEn
Reply to  You Don’t Say
15 days ago

More likely: Less/no doping tests in many countries.

PVSFree
Reply to  AnEn
14 days ago

Serious question: how long would the effects of doping last? Like say you started doping in March 2020 and continued until ~November 2020 before you needed to taper off to avoid testing positive (no clue what the timeline actually was for halting doping in different countries, so this timeline may be totally off). How big of an advantage could you gain in that period (assuming you had consistent access to a pool the entire time) and how long would that advantage last?

AnEn
Reply to  PVSFree
14 days ago

In general you can profit from doping your whole career depending on the substance (although the effect obviously becomes less and less over the years). This is one reason why many people think that dopers (i remember that argument being made in connection with Justin Gatlin for example) shouldn’t be allowed to compete again, but apparently that wouldn’t be possible.
Here is an article i found about steroids:
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24730151

SwimKen
Reply to  AnEn
14 days ago

This 100%

Bobthebuilderrocks
15 days ago

All the 2021 kids remind me of this past year during the NCAA season all the sub 19 freshmen.

Also, let’s get a petition started to get a face reveal by whoever runs swimming stats on Instagram. I’d be interested to see if it’s an average Joe kind of guy or someone who is a bit more well known.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
15 days ago

In fact, he is the only swimmer under 17 on the list.”

This feels like it should be kind of obvious, no? For a male swimmer as a junior swimmer to have their best performance at 16 and then not improve over the following two years feels pretty rare. Because it’s a list of performers and not performances, I’d expect almost everyone on the list who’s not an active junior to have their best 18 year old performance listed.

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
14 days ago

I don’t think that’s really the case – Izotov and D’Orsogna had the magic suit, Cartwright got injured, and Santana had medical concerns. The only one we can definitely say did not get faster is McEvoy.
Most of the list is very recent names so we will need to wait and see what happens.

Edit to add I know mcEvoy did get faster, but he never seemed to live up to the hype.

Last edited 14 days ago by Samuel Huntington
Rafael
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
14 days ago

Santana has diabetes

Kitajima Fan
15 days ago

You can buy this statistic for $20

TQU
15 days ago

pf Wow

Last edited 15 days ago by TQU
Luigi
15 days ago

So, two years left to make the gap between himself and the rest of the list larger than the Gulf of Mexico.