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Pacy Popovici puts 100m freestyle rivals on notice

Romanian wunderkind David Popovici underlined his credentials for Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle by claiming the European title with a blistering swim that threatened Pan Zhanle's world record.

The 19-year-old clocked 46.88 seconds in the Belgrade pool, the third fastest swim in history and 0.08 seconds off the world mark set by China's Pan at the World Championships in Doha in February.

Popovici now has two of the top three 100m swims of all time, having set the previous world record of 46.86 at the 2022 European Championships.

Fellow 19-year-old Pan was confirmed in China's Olympic team on Tuesday and will hope to add the Paris gold to his world title from Doha.

Only five swimmers have broken the 47-second barrier in the event, but more may be set to follow at the US Olympic trials in Indianapolis.

Jack Alexy, the world silver medallist from Fukuoka last year, was fastest in the 100m heats at the US trials with a time of 47.08 and will battle Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel in the final.