David Popovici who won the gold medals in the 100 and 200m freestyle has pulled out of the 400 free final, dashing hopes that he could snatch gold in the 400m free and win a treble at the European Championships in Rome.
The Romanian Swimming Federation said the 17-year-old swimming star had decided to withdraw on the advice of his coach Adrian Rădulescu due to tiredness and so he could prepare himself for the upcoming Junior World Championships in Peru.
„He isn’t injured, he’s in good shape, and he would have swam well in the finals this evening, but things have piled up …. and we decided it’s best to protect him, especially as he only has 2 days in Bucharest” before he leaves for Lima.
The withdrawal, which will surely disappoint fans came after he sensationally claimed a new world record in the 100m freestyle on Aug. 13, overturning César Cielo’s 13-year-old 100-meter men’s freestyle mark at the European Aquatics Championship in Rome.
His time of 46.86 eclipsed the former event record by 0.05 seconds.
Two days later he claimed the men’s 200m freestyle gold, and swam the third quickest time in history.
Popovici, who only turns 18 next month, cruised to victory in 1min 42.97sec with Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic in second place and Austria’s Felix Auboeck third, both over two seconds behind.
The 17-year-old posted 3:47.99 in the opening 400m heat and appeared to set up a fascinating prospective of winning the 100-200-400 treble having never yet been achieved at the Europeans.
His absence from the 400m final start sheet will be a real disappointment to his fans.