David Popovici conjures up world record
As David Popovici has accelerated past his older rivals in the pool this summer, it seemed inevitable that the skinny 17-year-old would threaten world records, the only surprise when he broke the 100m freestyle mark in Rome on Aug. 13 was that he got so quick so fast.
On Aug. 12, the Romanian had become only the fourth man in history to swim under 47sec as he set a European record to win his semifinal at the European Championships in Rome.
That was more than half a second faster than his gold-medal time at the World Championships in June.
On Aug. 13, he was even quicker, swimming 46.86sec to slice 0.05sec off the record set by Brazilian Cesar Cielo in the 2009 World Championships, also in Rome, in the era of buoyant body suits.
“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,” he said after his victory.
In the World Championships in Budapest, Popovici outpaced Caeleb Dressel, who had swum the fastest 100m in a textile suit, in the heats. The Olympic champion withdrew from the competition before the semis.
“It’s nice being able to say that I am the fastest to ever do it and it’s a good thing to know I clashed with all of the titans of this race.”
His coach, Adrian Radulescu said that he too was surprised by the speed of Popovici’s progress.
“It’s amazing that it is happening so early,” said Radulescu, just 32.
Asked on Aug. 11 what makes him succesful, Popovici acknowledged that success comes at a price.
“When Erling Haaland, a football player, was asked the same question, he replied ‘hard work.’ So, it’s just really a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice and it all comes down to the question of how badly do you want it; and I really do want it, badly!”
“What are you willing to do that others aren’t? This includes living a completely different lifestyle.”