2022 EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, August 11 – Wednesday, August 17, 2022 (pool swimming)
- Rome, Italy
- Parco Del Foro Italico
- LCM (50m)
- Start Times
- Prelims: 9:00 am local / 3:00 am ET
- Finals: 6:00 pm local / 12:00 pm ET
- Meet Central
- Event Schedule
- Live Results
- Live Stream
The last four days have been an absolute tour de force for David Popovici, as the 17-year-old Romanian has etched his name in the record books with some monumental freestyle performances.
Coming off a world record-breaking performance in the men’s 100 freestyle final on Saturday, Popovici followed up with the fastest textile swim of all-time in the 200 free final two nights later, dropping a scintillating time of 1:42.97.
Popovici overtakes Yannick Agnel (1:43.14) for the fastest textile swim in history, and now ranks third behind Paul Biedermann (1:42.00) and Michael Phelps (1:42.96) in the all-time performers’ list. Popovici also breaks his own World Junior Record of 1:43.21 set at the World Championships in June.
Relative to his previous best set earlier this year in Budapest, Popovici employed a drastically different strategy on Monday in Rome.
The Romanian was slightly slower on each of the first three 50s compared to his splits from the World Championships, putting him 69 one-hundredths shy of PB pace at the final turn.
It looked like a relatively close race between Popovici and Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic over the first 150, and then Popovici absolutely blew him away on the last 50, splitting an eye-popping 26.01.
He clearly had to hold himself back opening up—his first 50 was actually slower than what he opened with in the semis of the 2021 Euro Juniors in the same pool—and remained conservative before letting it fly on the last length.
|Popovici, 2021 Euro Juniors (sf)||Popovici, 2021 Olympics||Popovici, 2022 Worlds||Popovici, 2022 Euros|
|50.70 (26.76)||50.73 (26.50)||49.96 (26.19)||50.35 (26.35)|
|1:18.34 (27.64)||1:17.97 (27.24)||1:16.27 (26.31)||1:16.96 (26.61)|
|1:45.26 (26.92)||1:44.68 (26.71)||1:43.21 (26.94)||1:42.97 (26.01)|
The two swims that sandwich Popovici’s in the all-time rankings are Phelps’ 1:42.96 from the 2008 Olympics and Agnel’s 1:43.14 from 2012.
In terms of splitting, all three paced the race in a similar manner.
Given that Popovici clocked 46.86 in the 100 free just two days before this swim, and that Phelps (47.51) and Agnel’s (47.84) best times in the 100 were done at the same meet as these 200 swims, perhaps Popovici could have even more time to drop if he let himself get a little more aggressive through the first 150.
|Phelps, 2008||Agnel, 2012||Popovici, 2022|
|50.29 (25.98)||50.64 (26.09)||50.35 (26.35)|
|1:16.84 (26.55)||1:17.16 (26.52)||1:16.96 (26.61)|
|1:42.96 (26.12)||1:43.14 (25.98)||1:42.97 (26.01)|
All-Time Performances, Men’s 200 Freestyle (LCM)
- Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:42.00 – 2009 World Championships
- Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:42.81 – 2009 World Championships
- Michael Phelps (USA), 1:42.96 – 2008 Olympic Games
- David Popovici (ROU), 1:42.97 – 2022 European Championships
- Yannick Agnel (FRA), 1:43.14 – 2012 Olympic Games
- David Popovici (ROU), 1:43.21 – 2022 World Championships
- Michael Phelps (USA), 1:43.22 – 2009 World Championships
- Michael Phelps (USA), 1:43.31 – 2008 Olympic Games
- Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:43.65 – 2009 World Championships
- Michael Phelps (USA), 1:43.86 – 2007 World Championships
Joining the 1:42-club is something Popovici forecasted for himself just one year ago:
It has literally been less than a year. This is insane. pic.twitter.com/67yNAMJ7IA
— Yanyan Li (@yyli35) August 15, 2022
Now having joined Biedermann and Phelps sub-1:43, the sky is the limit for Popovici. Since Biedermann’s 1:42-flat in 2009, the thought of someone breaking that record and going 1:41 seemed like a fantasy. But now, it looks like we’ve found the swimmer who could one day turn that into a reality.
Entering these European Championships, we had only ever seen three swims under 47 seconds in the 100 freestyle, and three swims under 1:43 in the 200 free. Popovici alone has brought the cumulative total of sub-47/sub-1:43 swims up from six to nine over the last couple of days, becoming the first to break both barriers in the process.