A new star is born: David Popovici becomes first Romanian male swimmer to win world championship
Romanian 17-year-old swimmer David Popovici won the 200-meter freestyle final at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Monday, June 20. This performance brought him the first gold medal at a World Championship.
This is also Romania's first world gold medal in a men’s swimming competition. Romania had previously won two gold medals at the World Championships, both in the women's swimming competitions.
David Popovici qualified for the final in Budapest with the best time of the competition and a new junior world record (1:44:40). In the final, he improved his time further clocking in an impressive 1:43:21.
He finished way ahead of South Korea’s Sunwoo Huang (1:44:47) and American Tom Dean (1:44:98).
"People at home believed in me. This medal is for them," David Popovici said after the final. "Now, I will go to recover and get ready for the 100-meter competition," he added.
David Popovici will make his debut in the 100-meter freestyle qualifiers on Tuesday, June 21. He aims for a place in the final, where he will likely compete against US star Caeleb Dressel.
Popovici had his first major international appearance last summer at the Tokyo Olympics, where he qualified for two finals and had the fourth-best in the world in 200 m freestyle.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Stefan Constantin)