David Popovici to target Worlds after National wins

David Popovici won Euro 200m short course gold at Kazan 2021 – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

European champion David Popovici will seek to add further honours to his stunning medal haul after confirming he will race at the Fina Short Course World Championships in Melbourne next month.

The 18-year-old Romanian, who has won long course (50m pool) World as well as European 100m and 200m freestyle titles at both senior and junior level in 2022.

He also broke the 100m free world record at Roma 2022, with a new landmark time of 46.86 during a breath-taking breakthrough year.

Popovici set a new Romanian 100m short course record of 46.62 at the nation’s national championships on Thursday before claiming the 200m title, in 1:43.06 on Friday.

“I’m going to next month’s Worlds to learn,” he told reporters in Romania after his latest successes.

“It’s very different from normal, (the pool) halved, twice as many turns and it’s a competition for the most explosive, dynamic and strong.

“I have no time or place goals,” continued the freestyle specialist, who will face home favourite and current 100m short course world record holder Kyle Chalmers in Australia.

“If I make finals, great. If I get medals, event better, but I don’t necessarily aim for that. I’m going to learn from those who are better than me in short course.”

Melbourne 2022 will run from 13-18 December and forms part of Popovici’s long-term preparations for the 2023 European short course Championships which will take place in the city of Bucharest, in his homeland, in December next year.