Plymouth diver Tom Daley bids to bounce back after synchro
TOM DALEY is more determined than ever to win a medal in the individual competition at the London Olympics after having to settle for fourth place in the synchro with Peter Waterfield yesterday.
Daley (above) and Waterfield looked on course for gold after three stunning opening dives left them top of the pile ahead of Chinese favourites Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang.
But the British pair dropped their fourth dive, which saw them slip just out of medal contention.
They produced two solid final dives but could not dislodge China, Mexico and the USA from the medal placings, despite unbelievable backing from a packed Aquatics Centre.
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In the end they finished nine points away from bronze with 454.65 points – a score that would have been good enough to win silver at the Beijing Olympics four years' ago.
City teenager Daley has made no secret of his desire to win an Olympic medal and is focused on bouncing back in the individual event, which takes place on August 10-11.
"It is upsetting I have not been able to realise my dream with Pete and get an Olympic medal," he said.
"But we are going to go back to Southend and train there before coming back here.
"For us now, it is just about going into the individual event.
"We know what the crowd is going to be like.
"It is not going to be new and by the time we get to the individual event we should be well prepared and ready to go."
On yesterday's performance, Daley said: "Our first, two dives were the best we have done in a competition and the third dive was one of our best as well.
"So after three dives we had the highest score we have ever had.
"But then the fourth dive we missed, and at this level of competition and with a field like this, you cannot afford to miss any dives.
"After missing that we did pretty well to stay in fourth. The home fans really did lift us. They gave us the drive and determination to do two solid dives.
"But, at the end of the day, if we had got nine points more for our three-and-a-half, which normally we would be able to do, then we would have been on that podium."
Daley added: "Diving has come on so much in the last few years. That score, I think, would have got us a medal in Beijing."
Daley and Waterfield said they felt they could still get a medal even after their shocking fourth dive, but none of the pairs ahead of them gave them a chance to close the gap.
"After the fourth dive we knew we had our two highest difficulty dives left in our list," said Daley.
"I said to Pete that we could still come back, that we had to get a solid dive in and see what happens with the other divers.
"After you drop a dive you have to rely on someone else to drop one of theirs, but it was just not our day.
"It is a shame, but we are going to come out and, hopefully, do well in the individuals."
After the event, Waterfield took the blame for the poor fourth dive.
He said: "After that fourth dive I actually said sorry to Tom.
"I said, 'Sorry mate' and that was when he said, 'Don't worry, we have our next dive. Let's make it a big one'. We did that, but, unfortunately, it was not big enough."
Eighteen-year-old Daley refused to blame his partner for costing him a medal.
"At the end of the day we are a team," said the Plymouth College student.
"That's it, full stop. We win together and we lose together."
He added: "It was just one of those things. I kicked a little bit early and went a little bit short, and Pete kicked a little bit high and went over.
"If you do that the synchro marks are not going to be as good.
"We just needed nine more points and normally the three-and-a-half is our best dive."
China won the competition with 486.78 points, with the Mexican pair of German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro second on 468.90, and USA duo of David Boudia and Nicholas McCrory third with 463.47.
Today, city divers Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow will be hoping to medal in the women's 10m synchro (3pm).
The pair were at the Aquatics Centre yesterday watching Daley and Waterfield.