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Romanian David Popovici returns home as world super champion for the European Junior Championships in Otopeni

Tomorrow, Tuesday 5 July, the European Junior Swimming Championships will start off with almost 500 athletes announced from 42 nations. The five days of competition will be held in Romania in the small city of Otopeni, 10,000 inhabitants just a few kilometres north of Bucharest.

The young athletes will be competing again after the last Under-18 continental event, which took place in 2021 at the Foro Italico in Rome, the same venue that will host the European Aquatics Championships in August. It is the first time that Romania organises a youth event of such high calibre, in the hope of growing the aquatics movement in a country historically linked to swimming sports. The championships will take place inside the brand new Otopeni aquatics centre, which consists of six pools, including one 50-metre Olympic pool and two 25-metre pools, diving springboards and platforms up to 10 metres, and 3,000 seats for the spectators. In December 2023, the sporting centre will also be the officiale venue for the European short-course swimming championships. There are great expectations around this important junior event, that will end exactly one month before the start of Rome 2022. Many young athletes coming from all corners of Europe will try to perform at their best to seek qualification to the highlight event planned in the summer in Italy.

The event will be an opportunity to see some of the best-known athletes from the world championships in Budapest that have just finished. Among them, there will be the 'new swimming wizard' David Popovici as the host, since he was born in Otopeni precisely. The two-time world champion, who will turn 18 years old in September, is returning to his homeland as a triumphant swimmer after winning gold in the men’s 100m and 200m freestyle, a historic 'old style' double when the 50 metre distance did not yet exist. He will be the man to beat in the 50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle and will certainly try to surprise again by lowering the junior world record in the 100m freestyle he set in Budapest (47.58). On the starting blocks there will also be British rival Jacobs Whittle, accredited with the second best times over the same distances. All eyes will be on many young hopefuls such as the Turkish Marve Tuncel, the French Justine Delmas and Sacha Velly, and the Poles Ksawery Maskiuk and Krzysztof Chimielewski. Italy will line up the Roman freestyle swimmer Lorenzo Galossi, at his second participation in an Under-18 European championships.

The competition will start on Tuesday 5 July at 10.00. with the heats, followed by the semifinals, finals and relays from 17.00. The last day of competition and closing ceremony are scheduled for Sunday 10 July.

Live streaming for the entire event will be available on LEN TV.

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