SwimmingDavid Popovici Wins 50 Free, 100 Back, 50 Fly at Romanian Champs

David Popovici Wins 50 Free, 100 Back, 50 Fly at Romanian Champs

David Popovici Wins 50 Free, 100 Back, 50 Fly During First Two Days of Romanian Championships

After narrowly missing out on his first trip to an Olympic podium in 2021, Romanian teenager David Popovici emerged as one of the sport’s preeminent stars in 2023. At the World Championships in Budapest, he posted stunning swims in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle, earning world titles in both, and less than two months later, he broke Cesar Cielo’s 100 free world record with a time of 46.86 while becoming the third man ever to break 1:43 in the 200 free.

Popovici was named World Male Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World for those magnificent freestyle efforts, but now, during one of his first competitions of the 2023 long course season, Popovici is showing skills outside his main events. During the first two days of the Romanian Championships in Otopeni, the now-18-year-old has clinched three victories. Tuesday brought wins in the 50 free (22.62) and 100 backstroke (54.74), and on Wednesday, he reset Hungary’s national record in the 50 butterfly with a time of 23.74, knocking almost three tenths off his country’s previous national recod.

It is unlikely that Popovici would attempt to race any of these off-events internationally, especially given his prowess in the 100 and 200 free, but he has shown the versatility to become Hungary’s top swimmer in essentially any event he chooses to race. It’s unclear if and when Popovici will remain his best events against top competition during the season, but he will surely arrive at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in late July heavily favored for repeat world titles and more attempts at world records.

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