Romanian teenage sensation David Popovici was named the world’s best male swimmer of 2022 by the famous website SwimSwam.com
“In this post-Olympic year, plenty of new faces rose to the top of men’s swimming. Seven men broke individual world records. Eight men won multiple World Championship titles in individual events. But none of these other swimmers and their performances managed to shake up the swimming world as much as teenage sensation David Popovici did,” the site notes.
The authors decided the winners of the Swammy Awards largely based on hard statistics, like the number of gold medals won or world records broken, but as this year Popovici broke the same amount of world records as seven other men and won the same amount of individual long course world titles as pool athletes like Kristof Milak and Leon Marchand, the “wow” factor also had to be taken into consideration, the site writes.
In 2021, at just 16 years old, Popovici put the world on notice with his swims, clocking a 47.30 world junior record in the 100 free and getting 0.02 seconds away from an Olympic medal in the 200 free. He went on to channel this potential into going 46.86 in the 100 free and 1:42.97 in the 200 free just a year later, SwimSwam writes.
The peak of Popovici’s year was at the 2022 European Championships, where he first took down Cesar Cielo’s super-suited world record time of 46.91 in the 100 free, going 46.86. He then swam a 1:42.97 in the 200 free, becoming the third male to break 1:43 behind Paul Biedermann and Michael Phelps, being the first to do so in a textile suit. With Popovici’s swim, it seems like Biedermann’s world record time of 1:42.00 might not be so out of reach anymore, the cited source stresses.
Something else that factored into the jury’s decision was Popovici’s remarkable consistency. He won the 100 and 200 free at every major long course international meet that he competed at: the World Championships, the European Championships, the World Junior Championships, and the European Championships. In addition, he also established his world dominance in both events, clocking the seven fastest 100 free performances (he recorded 16 total sub-48 swims) and the three fastest 200 free performances of 2022, the website writes, pointing also out that Popovici saw major improvements in his short course performance, breaking the 100 free world junior record in a time of 45.64 to finish fourth, and then swimming a 1:40.79 to take second in the 200 free at the Senior World Championships.
The site also muses on Popovici’s strong personality, noting that upon breaking the 100 free, the self-proclaimed “Chlorine Daddy” went on to call himself a “Skinny Legend” and told media outlets that his next goal was to go 45-point.
Since the era of Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe, no other male teenager has done what Popovici did, SwimSwam points out.
SwimSwam.com is the most popular swimming and lifestyle news site, founded in 2012, Agerpres informs.