Seventeen year old David Popovici stepped to the starting blocks tonight only 0.07 seconds away from a 13 year old world record, ancient in swim years, that was set in this very same pool. Popovici was convinced that this was his chance to erase the name of Brazil’s Cesar Ciehlo‘s from the record books and replace it with his own; but only by swimming .05 faster than the 46.91 mark that was set in this very same pool at the 2009 FINA World Championships.
It took a step by step improvement to achieve a new world record of 46.86, one that brought a huge smile to the face of 17 year old David Popovici and brought the crowd at the Foro Italico pool to its feet. Popovici shaved 0.05 off a dusty world record that was set in a shiny suit. The Romanian split 22.74 in his first lap coming back in 24.12 beating Hungary’s Kristof Milak by .61 of a second. He became the youngest world record holder in history in this event. A historic mark at a historic venue.
Yesterday I said that the European record was just one step in the right direction – and I was right. There was no rush and I had to be extremely patient about the world record. I’m still hot from the race, but these championships are not over yet, nor this very long season. It has hurt but it’s always worth it and I feel fine right now. It felt great and it’s very special to break this record which was set here in 2009 by Cesar Cielo.
Last night’s semi finals saw a smile on the teenager's face when he saw the results board recorded his first sub 47 second performance. His emotion was underplayed, which speaks volumes about the humble nature of this young man. After his race, and after 30 minutes with the Romanian team doctor checking his lactate levels, he offered this brief assessment: “It is OK, it’s a fine route to the finals and a step in the right direction. It feels normal for me to progress step by step as I keep improving my time.”
PERSONAL BEST TIMES:
50m Freestyle: 22.16 July 8, 2022 - 2022 European Junior Championships - Otopeni, Romania; JUNIOR WORLD RECORD
100m Freestyle: 46.88 August13, 2022 - 2022 European Championships - Rome, Italy WORLD RECORD
200m Freestyle: 1:43.21 June 20, 2022 - 2022 FINA World Swimming Championships - Budapest, Hungary JUNIOR WORLD RECORD