Romania’s David Popovici has been named the Men’s World Swimmer of the Year 2022 by Swimming World Magazine.
Just a year ago, Swimming World Magazine had David on their cover and they termed him „The Boy Who Might Be King”.
According to Swimming World Magazine, Popovici was unanimously named the World and European Swimmer of the Year by a global panel of 11 journalists. The runner-up in the race for the world and male swimmer of the year was Hungary’s Kristof Milak.
David scored 55 points in the race for the Male Swimmer of the Year and European Swimmer of the Year Awards. Kristof scored 36 points in the top five Swimmers of the Year awards and 37 points in the top five European swimmers of the year awards.
Popovici had a tremendous year in terms of success in 2022, winning 14 medals. At the 2022 Long Course World Championships in Budapest, David claimed gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle events.
By winning in both these events, Popovici became the first swimmer in 49 years to win gold medals in both the 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle at the same world championships. He carried his excellent form to the 2022 European Junior Championships in Otopeni, Romania.
(L-R) Silver medalist Sunwoo Hwang of Team South Korea, Gold medalist David Popovici of Team Romania, and Bronze medalist Tom Dean of Team Great Britain pose with their medals after the Men’s 200m Freestyle Final of the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest
David clinched four gold medals and one silver medal at the European Junior Championships. He won the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay events. David Popovici and his teammates helped Team Romania claim a silver medal in the 4×100-meter mixed freestyle medley.
At the 2022 European Aquatics Championships (Long Course) in Rome, the young swimmer won two more gold medals. The Romanian emerged victorious in the 100-meter freestyle event with a world record time of 46.86. He finished the 200-meter freestyle event with a time of 1:42.97. David set a new world junior record with his time of 1:42.97.
He was also named the male swimmer of the meet at the 2022 European Aquatics Championships. Competing at the 2022 World Junior Championships, he won gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay events. Popovici claimed a lone silver medal in the 4×100-meter mixed freestyle relay.
David’s time of 1:46.18 in the 200-meter freestyle event is a championship record. The Romanian swimmer then competed in the 2022 FINA World Short Course Championships in Melbourne, but it wasn’t as fruitful for Popovici when compared with the other competitions he competed in in 2022. He won the silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle event with a national record time of 1:40.79.
Top 5 World Swimmers of the Year (Men)
- David Popovici, Romania – 55
- Kristof Milak, Hungary – 36
- Leon Marchand, France – 28
- Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 21
- Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia – 13