Top 5 Storylines To Watch At 2023 European SC Championships


The 2023 European Short Course Championships kick off on Tuesday, December 5th with a plethora of continental talent about to descend upon the Bucharest, Romania pool.

We’re anticipating multiple showdowns on both the men’s and women’s sides as swimmers vie for medals and bragging rights ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games.

While there are numerous races to watch over the next week, here are just 5 key storylines headlining the championships.

#1 British Olympic Champion Duncan Scott Has Limited Schedule

Duncan Scott of Great Britain is bypassing any freestyle events and is solely entered in the individual 100m, 200m and 400m IM races in Romania.

The versatile 26-year-old held a similar pattern at this year’s World Championships where the Stirling stud only raced the 200m IM. In Fukuoka, the most successful British Olympian at a single Olympic Games notched a LCM time of 1:55.95 to earn silver.

Scott will spar against the likes of Italy’s Thomas Ceccon and Alberto Razzetti, as well as his own countryman Tom DeanHe owns the Scottish national records in all 3 IM events, although the marks are each from at least 2 years ago:

  • 100m IM – 51.78, 2021
  • 200m IM – 1:51.53, 2021
  • 400m IM – 3:59.81, 2019

#2 Poland Opts Out of Championships Entirely

Although the nation of Poland carries big guns such as Kasia Wasick and Ksawery Masiuk in its arsenal, the nation is entirely absent from these European Short Course Championships.

Poland placed 6th overall in the swimming medal table at the 2021 edition, with Radoslaw Kawecki and Alicja Tchórz earning individual golds in the men’s 200m back and women’s 100m IM, respectively. Wasick also secured silver in both the women’s 50m and 100m freestyle events.

Wasick, who currently ranks 3rd in the world in the LCM 50 freestyle, reportedly said of the Polish Swimming Federation’s decision, “I am sorry that the Polish Swimming Association, despite numerous requests, ignored my intentions and those of my coaches, not giving me a chance to represent the country in the European Swimming Championships.

“We announced this start in January as part of our plans for this season. I must admit that this is a striking decision for me, because taking part in such an event is one of the main goals and dreams of every athlete, and I was deprived of it.”(Onet)

#3 Daniel Wiffen Seeks Multiple Podium Appearances

Irishman Daniel Wiffen continues to wow crowds both in the long course and short course arenas.

The 22-year-old Loughborough ace just wrapped up competition at the Rotterdam Qualification Meet where his top performance came in the LCM 1500 free. Wiffen notched a time of 14:48.52 to rank #2 in the world.

Earlier this season, Wiffen clocked SCM times of 3:39.57 in the 400m free, 7:30.06 in the 800m free and 14:20.75 in the 1500m free to wear the world rankings crown in each.

He earned silver in the men’s 1500m free at the 2022 Commonwealth Games but is primed to make history for his nation by potentially reaping more than one gold here in Romania by the time all is said and done.

#4 Women’s Breaststroke Battles Ahead

There are several would-be gold medalists about to duke it out in the women’s breaststroke events.

16-year-old Eneli Jefimova already registered new Estonian national records in all 3 distances of the discipline, having nailed times of 29.48 in the 50m, 1:03.79 in the 100m and 2:19.23 in the 200m, all occurring at the Kalev Open last month.

She ranks 1st, 3rd and 2nd in the world, respectively, giving her some momentum off which to build against the likes of Dutch national record holder Tes Schouten, Italian Olympian Benedetta PilatoSwedish ace Sophie Hansson and more.

Jefimova earned silver in the 100m breaststroke at the 2021 edition of these championships; however, the teen has a very real chance of completing a sweep here in Romania.

#5 Host Nation’s David Popovici Ready to Roll

World Record holder David Popovici has been relatively quiet since scorching a new historic mark of 46.86 in the LCM 100 freestyle at the 2022 European Championships.

The 19-year-old Romanian rail has indeed been competing, having settled for a 6th-place finish in his main event at this year’s World Championships (47.83). He also finished 4th in the 200m free in 1:44.90 in Fukuoka.

The teen also recently raced at the Marka Petrusewicza Memorial Meet in Poland where he produced times of 21.84 in the SCM 50 free and 1:44.08 in the 200m free.

We’ll see what Popovici has in store as he battles Lithuanian Danas Rapsys, British Olympic champion Tom DeanBritish world champion Matthew Richards and more over this week in his home nation.

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2 months ago

Polish Federation – what a joke

2 months ago

#2 is not really one “to watch”, is it?

Summer Love
Reply to  FST
2 months ago


2 months ago

Too bad it’s not long course. Seems anticlimactic to race SCM at this point of the Olympic cycle. My prediction is by Paris Pan Zhanle will break Popovici’s 100fr WR. I have some doubts about Popovici’s training environment and motivation in Romania while attending Uni. He might have been better off at CAL or Texas. Just my opinion and I could be wrong.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

also an opportunity for the first scm wr of the year. if there are none, this will be the first year to have no scm WRs
since their establishment.

though this mostly because a reduced scm season with a lcm world cup

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

I thought maybe Kolesnikov or Chikunova could break a WR at Russian nationals. Maybe Wiffen can get the 800 WR?

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Nooooo. I want Hackett’s record to live for another year

Summer Love
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Is it currently the oldest swimming World Record?

Reply to  Summer Love
2 months ago

It is. Over 22 years old and counting

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

It is hugely underrated.

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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