At Short Couse Worlds, David Popovici “Realized I Am Way Stronger Than I Imagined”

David Popovici of Romania looks on after winning the silver medal in the 200m Freestyle men Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 18th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
David Popovici -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

A Special Thanks to Deep Blue Media for providing the images from this meet

Deep Blue Media

At Short Couse Worlds, David Popovici “Realized I Am Way Stronger Than I Imagined”

In 2022, David Popovici emerged as the top 100 and 200 freestyler in the world. He captured world titles in both events in June, and six weeks later, he lowered Cesar Cielo’s 13-year-old world record in the 100 free at the European Championships before becoming the third man in history under 1:43 in the 200 free (and the first in a textile suit).

The 18-year-old from Romania chose to conclude 2022 with a trip Down Under for the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, but he downplayed his abilities to match his long course success in the 25-meter course.

“I don’t like short course that much,” Popovici said during a pre-meet press conference. “I am built for long course, but this is a great opportunity for me to gather a lot of information, gain some experience and be the best version I can be. I want to take everything I learn, the turns and the starts which are more intense here, and transform it into long-course information, which I like more.”

Popovici ended up placing fourth in the 100 free in Melbourne and then earning a silver medal behind fellow teenager Hwang Sunwoo in the 200 free, setting world junior records in both races. With the meet concluded, Popovici posted his reflections on his performances to his Instagram page, and he admitted that he held significant doubts about his potential at the meet.

But his results surpassed his expectations, and he quickly “realized that I am way stronger than I imagined and that it was all in my head.” Popovici even called the meet “the perfect way of ending” his breakout year, and he will surely take confidence from this performance, even if did not match up to his long course legend, into 2023.

He wrote:

“I know most of the time I look or appear very confident, but coming into the Short Course World Championship I doubted myself and my abilities.

“Before I started, I was just trying to be realistic in terms of what I could achieve, knowing I don’t like racing short course and also that I’m not so good at it.

“However, once I started, I realized that I am way stronger than I imagined and that it was all in my head.

“In the end, I managed to snatch one last World Junior Record in the 100m free and the Silver medal in the 200m free, proving once again to myself that doubt and insecurities can make you stronger.

“Thank you everybody for this amazing year, this was the perfect way of ending it. :)”

The full Instagram post is available below:

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