David Popovici, Romanian wunderkind, wins gold medal 100 meter freestyle

Romanian swimmer David Popovici has won his second gold medal in the 100 meters freestyle.


The 17-year-old phenom swam his way into the history books in a nail-biting final  in which the top three finishers were separated by just 0.13 seconds.

The Romanian phenom surged on the final 50 meters to claim the title at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, earning him the title “King David” back in Romania.

„I’m an ordinary guy capable of doing extraordinary things,” he told Romanian public television station, TVR which broadcast the final.

It is the first time since 1973 when a swimmer has won the World Championships in the 100 and 200 freestyle.


The unstoppable wunderkind set a new record for juniors in the semi-finals clocking 47.13 to break the men’s 100m freestyle world junior record as well. He clocked 47.58 in the final to clinch the title.

French swimmer Maxime Grousset won the silver with a time of 47.64 and Canada’s Joshua Liendo Edwards came third with 47.71.

Earlier in the competition, the teen who stands 2.05 meters won the prestigious men’s 200 freestyle title, setting a world record for juniors with a time of 1:43.21.


Confident, mature, and humble, he is expected to be a star for years to come. He started swimming in Bucharest at the age of four for two reasons.

Firstly, his parents thought it would tire out an easily-bored child and help him sleep better.

Secondly, the sport was suggested by a doctor who thought that it would help correct Popovici’s early stage scoliosis – a condition in children where the spine twists and curves to the side.


He was a natural in the water, which helped to build his confidence.

At the age of 10, he broke his first national record in the 50m backstroke. Four years later he became the fastest under-15 swimmer at the European Youth Olympic Festival, clocking 49.82 in the 100 freestyle.

He hasn’t even finished school, but when he does, he plans to study psychology.

Human mind

“I like the human mind because I’m using it and I know what it can achieve when it’s controlled well. I’m into human behaviour and anything the brain can do good and bad. The muscles play their part, but the brain is the biggest instrument in every good athlete.”



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