This past weekend, the
Romanian swimmer David Popovici won the gold in the 200m freestyle final of the
European Short Course Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia. Popovici came
first with 1:42:12. At the age of only 17, he thus won his first continental
senior title, while also setting a new national record. Second and third came 2
Dutch swimmers, Luc Kroon and Stan Pijnenburg.
Popovici's gold was
the 3rd medal for Romania in this short course championship, after
the silver and bronze won by Robert Glinţă in the 100m and 50m backstroke finals.
"I'm glad I could attend this European competition. We've been quite united and
had a lot of fun. And I'm also happy to have written history for Romanian
swimming," said Popovici upon his return to Romania. He is the first Romanian,
in fact, to have won a European short course championship.
For his outstanding
performance, Radio Romania International has designated David Popovici the
Athlete of the Week.
David Popovici was
born on 15 September 2004, in Bucharest, and has specialised in freestyle races,
having set the juniors' world records for 100m and 200m freestyle. Also in the
junior category, he is the European champion in the 50m, 100m and 200m
freestyle events. In the same European Championship edition, held in Rome, he
won the silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay with his Romanian teammates.
His best performance
was his qualification in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where at 16 years of age, he
came up 4th in the 200m freestyle final. "I think in Tokyo I learned
to better control my emotions, to focus on my lane and do what I do best,"
young Popovici also said upon his return from Kazan. (tr. A.M. Popescu)