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.”  


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