Popovici clocks third fastest 200m freestyle to earn Euro gold

David Popovici celebrates after winning gold in the 200m freestyle in Rome
AFP

Romanian teenager David Popovici swam the third quickest time in history to claim the men’s 200m freestyle gold at the European Championships on Monday in Rome.

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.

Germany’s Paul Biedermann has held the world record of 1min 42sec since 2009, which he set in the Italian capital.

On Saturday, Popovici claimed the world record in the 100m freestyle after taking double gold at the World Championships in June.

“It was a hard race to swim and I think my time is well-earned. This is an excellent time,” Popovici said.

“Finally, I could go under 1:43, which is great. The immediate plans are to relax a bit tomorrow and then test the waters in the 400m.”

Popovici will swim in the preliminary heats of the 400m on Wednesday.

France won the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay in 3min 22.80sec with Britain in second and Sweden in third.

“After the little disappointment in the 200m events it was a great pleasure to win this medal,” Maxime Grousset said after France earned bronze in the men’s 4x200m and the women finished sixth.

“We have a great team and we are really satisfied.”

Italy were fourth despite leading at the halfway mark but there was reason to celebrate for the crowd.

Home favourite Simona Quadarella added to her 800m freestyle gold by clinching the women’s 1500m in 15min 54.15sec.

Hungary’s Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas took second and Quadarella’s compatriot Martina Rita Caramignoli came third.

Sweden’s Louise Hansson won the women’s 100m butterfly final in 56.66sec, beating France’s Marie Wattel and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar.

“It was a huge race, everything went as we had planned,” the 25-year-old Hansson said.

“This is my first individual gold, so I’m really happy to go home with this gold in my bag as I think the whole country will be proud of me.”

In the 200m women’s breaststroke final, Switzerland’s Lisa Mamie took gold ahead of Italy’s Martina Carraro and Lithuania’s Kotryna Teterevkova, who had led until the final 50m.

Greece’s Apostolos Christou pipped Italy’s Thomas Ceccon by 0.04sec to take the men’s 50m backstroke title, with Germany’s Ole Braunschweig collecting bronze.

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