Romanian swimmer David Popovici, aged 17, has won the gold medal on Monday evening in the men’s 200m freestyle event at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. His time was 1 minute and 43.21 seconds.
David Popovici has thus broken his own junior world record set in Sunday’s semifinals (1 min 44.40 seconds). He had managed the best time in the men’s heats on Sunday morning, 1 min 45.18 sec.
David Popovici, a debutant at the World Senior Championships, brought the first long-course world title for Romanian men’s swimming. So far, Romania had two gold medals won by Tamara Costache (women’s 50m freestyle, 1986) and Diana Mocanu (women’s 200m backstroke, 2001), but its world tally now improved to three gold, one silver and six bronze medals.
David Popovici was also racing on June 21 in the 100m freestyle heats, where he started in series 10 (out of a total of 11). Although he didn’t have a good start, David managed to recover fantastically in the last part of the race and prevailed with a time of 47.60.
The semifinals are scheduled for the same day and the final takes place on June 22.
“David Popovici is the world champion!
The first swimmer in Romania to achieve this male performance. David swam masterfully in the 200 m race, was the second two lengths of the pool but the end was a spectacular one. With 1: 43.21 David set a new junior world record.
His native speed and outstanding swimming style have made him the new star of world swimming at the age of 17!
In the stands at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest were his parents, coach Adrian Rădulescu, Camelia Potec and many Romanians who lived this historic moment.
David Popovici, congratulations! Romania is proud of you,” says the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee in a Facebook post.
At the press conference, the Romanian swimmer impressed the audience both with his speech and also with his impeccable English. “I wasn’t so surprised (n.r. when he saw how fast it started). Because I planned a quick start, somewhere at 50 per cent, so 49.96 was fixed there,” David said.
“I knew I had to run the race from the beginning, that was an important strategy, that I had to dominate the race from the start. I can say that I have more confidence in myself if I see myself in the lead, but that didn’t end well for me. What made me finish well is the fact that I had a very well thought out race, we prepared very well for it, I rested well before, I think that also matters. We just love swimming. We are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. I like to think so,” David Popovici also told the press conference, quoted by Lead.ro.
Asked what his success means for Romania, David Popovici answered: “I guess there will be chaos at the airport, I saw that in the past, when we came back from Tokyo and then we finished on the 4th, now I’m the first. But I’m ready for that, I’m ready for a little celebration, because I think we deserve it, even if we have a long and busy summer ahead. A little joy did no harm to anyone. It means a lot to Romania and I am very happy that I managed this result for my country, for all those who supported me and watched me live from home and here. I really like that feeling! “
“I thought of you all. Thank you! ”, was his Facebook post after the victory, with a photo containing the tricolor.