David Popovici drowned on Tuesday night not Fukuoka, When he was trying to break the existing inhospitable swimming record. The 18-year-old Romanian, the man who swam the fastest 200m freestyle in a textile swimsuit, tries to lower his record Paul Biederman in 2009 stuffed with a full-body floatie swimsuit, which is banned today. german time, 1 minute 42 seconds, representing the steepest peak. A level that humans seem inaccessible to when they are not motivated by the help of technology.
There was no swimmer younger than Popovici in the entire final. Nobody is bolder. He tried it with the fastest start ever: 23.74 seconds in the first length, five-tenths faster than Biedermann in 2009. He went at a world record pace up to 100, the test ruled up to the 150m course and the muscle paralysis he experienced in the last 20m dragged him from first to fourth place in one of the fastest 200m in history: for the second time at the World Cup and Games all podium finishers have fallen from 45m. The gold and silver medals went to the British Matt Richards (1 minute 44.30 seconds) and Tom Dean (1 meter 44.32 seconds), and the bronze went to South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang (1 meter 44.42 seconds). Popovici reached fourth on the final wall in 1 minute, 44.90 seconds, after notching the decisive 50 in an alarming 28.12 seconds. sinking time. A bad sign for the 100 freestyle world record holder, who between Wednesday and Thursday will have to attack the test he is supposed to dominate. More pressure.
The swimmer who raised the most expectations in Fukuoka lost in style in the 200m final, so much so that his semi-final time (1m 44.70s) would have earned him the silver medal. He did his best, perhaps in an experimental spirit, perhaps realizing that to secure gold a quick exit would be appropriate for him to open a gap. Maybe you are looking for something new. After winning the world 200 title last year, a turbulent mood could have sent Popovici into a tailspin.
“I always compared David to an explorer,” says his father, Mihailo. “Since I was a kid, I’ve been doing things that other kids haven’t done. And now he’s exploring an area where there are no maps.”
Exploration has levels. Calculating the distribution of efforts in 200 freestyle approaches is one of the most complex tasks in swimming. To do this to beat Biedermann’s record is to climb the K2 in winter and in the middle of a storm.
“You have to do a couple of sprints and find a balance to know where to accelerate and where to book,” noted Popovici’s coach Adrian Radulescu. “We tried. In April 2022 in Slovenia, we started slow and then ran 100 seconds as fast as possible; then the opposite and in Budapest we put it together. In Rome, at Euro 2022, he started slower and came back faster. It’s going to take some time to adjust. It’s a learning curve. But I think this record can be achieved.”
July 25, 2023 is marked in red on the calendar by Popovici and his coach. D- The day of the assault on the Great Summit. It turned out to be a failed period. So big that it seems only within reach of the best possible swimmer. With the next World Cup scheduled for February 2024 and some games the following summer, the Fukuoka sinking could be recorded as the end point or starting point in a learning path that culminates in the 200-match final in Paris, on July 29, 2024.