David Popovici, Lilly King among athletes to watch at Swimming Short Course World Championships 2022

David Popovici and Lilly King in one frame
David Popovici and Lilly King in one frame

David Popovici and Lilly King will be at the 2022 Swimming Short Course World Championships in Australia. The event returns to the nation for the first time in 15 years this week.

However, there are a lot of athletes in the event to watch out for. Lilly King of the US and David Popovici of Romania are two of the most well-known athletes to keep an eye on. Popovici has gained notoriety as a result of his recent performance. Meanwhile, King is one of the most talked-about athletes in the 2022 Swimming Short Course World Championships because of her Olympic records.

Lilly King might attempt to uphold Budapest's rule

One of the most accomplished athletes in Melbourne, Lilly King is a breaststroke specialist and Indiana University alum. She's won five Olympic medals, 10 FINA world titles, and four short-course world titles.

Budapest welcomed Lilly King back after she won four gold medals there in 2017. Her time of 1:04.13 is still the world record for the 100-meter breaststroke.

The 25-year-old Indiana University alum joined Team USA as one of three women's captains rather than as a rising star.

Lilly King, the reigning breaststroke champion, is one of Melbourne's most honored sportspeople. The American, who has won four short-course world titles and two gold medals at the Olympics, is likewise eager to get going.

David Popovici is out to make a name

The sport's most exciting young prospect, 18-year-old Romanian David Popovici will be the event's main attraction starting on Tuesday in Melbourne.

He had an incredible year in which he broke the long course 100m freestyle world record by finishing in 46.86 seconds at the European Championships in August.

The previous record of 46.91 seconds was set in the era of buoyant body suits in 2009.

The heroics followed David Popovici's accomplishments in the 100m/200m freestyle double at the World Championships. This cemented his status as an early favorite to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Paris in 2024.

On Thursday night, the Romanian will compete in the 100-meter race against Australian favorite Kyle Chalmers.

Tournament Background

The championships will end on December 18 and take place in the 25-meter outdoor (short course) pool at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center.

Men will participate in the 800-meter freestyle and women will compete in the 1500-meter freestyle for the first time at the Swimming Short Course World Championships 2022 (25 m).

Some illustrious names are competing in the six-day event at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center. Names include teenage superstar swimmer David Popovici, a two-time world champion at the age of 17, and triple Olympic champions Kaylee McKeown and Adam Peaty.

Races over the 25-meter course may be impacted by wind and the event's chilly temperatures. Even so, the tournament offers bragging rights and a barometer of form before 2023, with Paris 2024 only 19 months away.

Although daytime session ticket sales have been slow, Swimming Australia is hopeful that nighttime sessions will bring in large numbers. Just over 4,000 people can fit in the arena.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann