WATCH: David Popovici Obliterates Field With 100 Free WJR Of 47.56


Romania’s David Popovici turned the swimming community on its axis on Tuesday, breaking the world junior record in the men’s 100 freestyle at just 16 years of age.

Popovici led off Romanian men’s 4×100 free relay on the opening night of finals at the European Junior Championships in Rome in a time of 47.56, putting him under the previous WJR of 47.57 set by Andrei Minakov in 2020.

Popovici finished 2.51 seconds clear of the next-fastest swimmer on the opening leg of the relay, and only two other swimmers that had the advantage of a relay exchange split under 49 seconds.

The Bucharest native, who now ranks fourth in the world for 2020-21, was out in a quick 23.07 but turned in an unbelievable back-half: 24.49.

Watch the race video via Best Swimming on YouTube below:

You can also watch the full 400 free relay on the LEN website here, though you’ll need to make an account (free) with Eurovision OTT.

Popovici followed up this performance by tying what is now his previous best time and Romanian Record of 48.08 in the individual semi-finals, putting him 1.26 seconds clear of the next-fastest competitor heading into Thursday’s final.

Now a bonafide contender in this event at the upcoming Olympic Games, Popovici, who will turn 17 in September, would become the youngest medalist in the 100 freestyle since 1932 if he pulled off a top-three finish in Tokyo.

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3 months ago

“Oh Jeesuz”

Reply to  Friuti
3 months ago

the only appropriate live reaction to this otherworldly swim

Li Shu
3 months ago

That’s disgusting. He actually might medal at Toyko if he keeps dropping like this.

Swim nerd
Reply to  Li Shu
3 months ago

If he can just have some better front end speed he has a real shot at a medal (he came back in a 24.49)

3 months ago

He’s medaling in Tokyo at this rate

3 months ago

His technique looks smooth

Reply to  Swimmer
3 months ago

Nice distance per stroke and quite smooth

Sam B
3 months ago

let’s just doubt the kid, he is too fast for his age.

Reply to  Sam B
3 months ago

is he peaking too early? some have been saying this

Curious Swimma
3 months ago

30 strokes out/ 35 strokes back. very very smooth.

3 months ago

Seriously has Thorpe/Sun vibes in his stroke, watch out world and let me introduce you to the 2024 100 and 200 freestyle Olympic champion(only halfway kidding, pin this for reference)

Reply to  Ragnar
3 months ago

Sun Yang is the comparison i had in mind for him:
1) His technique is brilliant (like Sun Yang’s). If someone who never watched swimming before watches a race with him, they will probably think that he should be the fastest, just looking at his technique (as was the case with Sun Yang).
2) He might have a range like noone else (like Sun Yang a couple of years ago, when he was the best from 200 free to 1500 free). In order to do that he would have to be a medal contender in the 100 free, the 200 free and the 50 free or the 400 free. Currently noone is a medal contender in the 50… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by AnEn
Sun Yangs Mom
Reply to  AnEn
3 months ago

3) He does steroids like Sun Yang too

Reply to  Sun Yangs Mom
3 months ago

1) No idea what he is on.
2) It is pretty naive to think that any medal contender isn’t doped (regardless of nationality).
3) Better addition would have been: 3) Both are from former communist countries.

Last edited 3 months ago by AnEn
3 months ago

looks like he’s 10 feet tall when he swims

Reply to  THEO
3 months ago

Is he a giant?

Reply to  Walter
3 months ago

That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out he’s huge

Reply to  Walter
3 months ago

He is only 6’3″ somehow, yet he swims much taller/longer than that.

Reply to  HJones
3 months ago

For real, Stretch Armstrong arms.

Reply to  HJones
3 months ago

He’s also really lanky which probably makes him look longer than he is.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  HJones
3 months ago

Looks like Casas length.

Reply to  THEO
3 months ago

This says he was 6’2″ in 2019…

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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