Even more meaningful to Popov than his professional success is the freedom that his life after swimming has afforded him. No more training eight hours a day, seven days a week, he explains as we take his V-Class to the Chaika swimming pool, in the centre of the city, near the Kremlin. “I can plan my own schedule.”
A few years ago, Popov – along with his wife and three children (two sons and one daughter) – went on a road trip through Europe in the V-Class. The clan made stops in Bulgaria, Croatia and Italy before passing through Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Poland on their way back to Russia. The road trip was inspired by “the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, eat whatever you want, and sleep wherever you want,” he says emphatically.