Romania's David Popovici says he is "extremely pumped" to compete in Melbourne ©Getty Images

Romanian teenage sensation David Popovici admits he is not a fan of short-course races but is "extremely pumped" to lock horns with Australian rival Kyle Chalmers at the World Swimming Championships (25m) here.

Popovici and Chalmers are two of the headline names at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre and look set for a mouth-watering tussle in the pool this week.

Chalmers holds the world record in the short course 100 metres freestyle while Popovici broke the long course 100m freestyle world record earlier this year.

The pair are poised for a freestyle showdown in the Australian city, but Popovici admits he has a lot to learn as he played down his chances of getting the better of Chalmers.

"I don’t like short course that much," said the 18-year-old at the opening press conference to the World Swimming Championships (25m).

"I am built for long course, but this is a great opportunity for me to gather a lot of information, gain some experience and be the best version I can be.

"I want to take everything I learn so the turns and the starts which are more intense here and transform it into long-course information which I like more.

Popovici is aiming to cap off a sensational year in the pool ©Getty Images
Popovici is aiming to cap off a sensational year in the pool ©Getty Images

"Sure, there is a rivalry between me and Kyle Chalmers.

"For now, I believe that it is only in long course but that’s why I am here.

"I want to learn, and I want to be better at short course as well and in the following years I want to be able to race against him head-to-head in short course.

"He has the world record in short course, and I am the world record holder in long course so in a few years' time I think we can race on both planes.

"For now, my goal is qualifying for the final and as we all know that once you have a lane, you a chance.

"That’s my mentality for this competition."

Popovici hit the headlines in August when he set the 100m freestyle world record with a stunning time of 46.86sec at the European Aquatics Championships at the age of just 17.

This year also saw the Romanian win the 100m and 200m freestyle world senior titles before triumphing over the two distances at the World Junior Championships.

Popovici says he is getting used to the limelight as he looks to cap off a memorable 2022 at the World Swimming Championships (25m).

"At first, the attention was fun," said Popovici.

Australia's Kyle Chalmers is the favourite to win  men's 100m freestyle gold in Melbourne ©Getty Images
Australia's Kyle Chalmers is the favourite to win men's 100m freestyle gold in Melbourne ©Getty Images

"I think when everyone was they had little fantasies about what it will be liked to be stopped every time you walk around in the streets.

"It has been fun but it has got a bit overwhelming, especially at home.

"I have got a bit used to it and I am working at perfecting how I deal with all the attention.

"I have had a busy and successful year.

"We worked a lot for this and were expecting everything that happened.

"It happened at once but we were ready for that and since I have been favourite for so many junior and senior events, it’s good coming here knowing that I am not the best yet in short course.

"I live for racing and sometimes it’s good knowing that you are not the crowd favourite.

"I am okay with that.

"I am extremely pumped for this competition and so far with the training camp and everything it is one of my favourite meetings even though it hasn’t even started yet."