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David Popovici breaks 100m freestyle world record

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As David Popovich accelerated past older rivals in the pool this summer, it seemed inevitable that the skinny 17-year-old would threaten the world record. It’s fast, so it’s fast.

On Friday, the Romanian set a European record by winning the semi-finals at the European Championships in Rome, becoming just the fourth man in history to swim under 47 seconds.

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This was more than half a second faster than the gold medal time at the World Championships in June.

On Saturday, he swam even faster, swimming 46.86 seconds, beating the record set by Brazilian Cesar Cielo at the 2009 World Championships, also in Rome, by 0.05 seconds.

“I said yesterday that the European record was just a step in the right direction and it was true. There was no rush and I had to be very patient for the world record,” he said. After winning, he said.

At the World Championships in Budapest, Popovich qualified by overtaking Caleb Dressel, who swam the fastest 100m in a textile suit.

The Olympic champion withdrew from the competition before the semifinals.

David Popovich of Romania sets a new world record in the men’s 100m freestyle. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)Source: AFP

“It’s great to say I was the fastest ever. It’s good to know that I’ve collided with all the giants in this race.”

His coach, Adrian Radulescu, said he, too, was surprised at how quickly Popovich was progressing.

“It’s amazing that it happened so early,” said Radulescu, who is only 32 years old.

Asked about the reason for his success on Thursday, Popovich admitted that success comes at a price.

“When soccer player Erling Haaland was asked the same question, he replied ‘hard work’. So it’s really a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice and it’s a matter of how much you want it. and I really want it, badly!

“What is it that other people don’t want to do? That includes living a completely different lifestyle.”

This summer, Popovich won the World and European Junior Championships in his hometown of Bucharest.

After Rome, he will be heading to the World Junior Championships in Lima

“Really, all I want out of this competition and the World Juniors in Peru is just to have fun. Medals, records, everything, good times are just a bonus. .

Not everyone shares his idea of ​​fun.

“All sports are fun. I was extremely tired and wanted to throw up,” he said.

“There are all sorts of lactic acid issues…that’s fine. It’s not fun then, but after half an hour you don’t want to kill yourself anymore and you feel like it’s worth it.”

Popovich was nine years old when he joined the swimming club coached by Radulescu.

Popovich is only 17 years old. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)Source: AFP

“He wasn’t easy to train. He was mostly looking for fun and skipping his turn…but there was something special about him. He was very We were competitive.”

“He must have been 10 years old. We were running a competition for swimmers his age,” recalled the coach.

“In the 25m swim, the last man dropped out…each time David finished second to last. In front of him, they wanted to prove they were good, they were tired In the final race David won because the other survivor was so tired.”

Popovich is unusually thin for a top swimmer.

“David has a keen sense of water,” Radulescu said.

“It’s not how much power you can generate, it’s how you can put it into speed. Yes, he’s very skinny, but strong enough to swim faster. I have.”

But he added that coach Popovich’s physique will change.

“He will be 18 in September, and his body will grow and evolve to male size. It’s a challenge… striking the right balance between strength and efficiency.”

Popovich already has the nickname “Wizard”.

“When I was younger I was into magic, card tricks and illusions, etc., but not now. It was just a little hobby before swimming,” he explained.

“But yes, some people call me a magician because of what I do in the pool, but again, I don’t think that describes me. I like to think of him as a simple guy who just swims fast.”