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17-Year-Old Romanian Swimmer David Popovici Breaks 100M Freestyle World Record

Erin WalshAugust 13, 2022

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

Romanian swimmer David Popovici, who is just 17 years old, broke the men's 100-meter freestyle world record Saturday at the 2022 European championships in Italy.

He is the youngest swimmer in history to break the record in the men's 100-meter freestyle.

"There was no rush, and I had to be extremely patient about the world record," Popovici said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). "It has hurt, but it's always worth it and I feel fine right now. It felt great, and it's very special to break this record."

Popovici finished the race in 46.86 seconds to break the record of 46.91 seconds held by Brazil's César Cielo, who accomplished the feat at the 2009 World Championships, also held in Italy.

The Romanian beat second-place Hungarian Kristóf Milák by 0.61 seconds. Alessandro Miressi of Italy finished third with a time of 47.63 seconds.

Popovici won gold in the men's 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle races earlier this year at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. However, he was unable to compete against American Caeleb Dressel, who dropped out of the event for health reasons.

Dressel won five gold medals at last summer's Tokyo Olympics, including one in the 100-meter freestyle. The two are now on pace for an exciting clash at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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