Daley's luck takes a dive

Tom Daley experienced the highs and lows of international competition in the space of 72 hours when he returned to the Foro Italico, scene of his individual gold medal triumph, to finish ninth in the 10 metre synchro with partner Max Brick at the World Championships.

The pair produced an inconsistent set of dives on a day dominated by the Chinese defending champions Liang Huo and Yue Lin, who set the standard with six perfect scores out of an available nine to win gold.

Daley and Brick started poorly but picked up with their second effort to move into fifth but a bad third dive, when Brick over-rotated and had a poor entry, dropped them back to 12th. Their next was better executed and elevated them to 10th but the pair both entered the water unevenly which was reflected in their marks, ranging from 4 to 6.5, leaving them in 11th. Their final dive moved them up to ninth on 390.36 points. America and Cuba took silver and bronze.

Daley, reflecting on his earlier success, said: "It's been crazy. In no way did I think I was going to become world champion and it was hard to come off that high and go back to training and get back in and compete again.

"It is our third time now and we made the final and we are happy with that but hopefully we can build on that performance in years to come. It has been highs and there have been a couple of lows but that is what you get with being a diver because anything can happen."

Brick, 17, replaced Blake Aldridge as Daley's synchro partner in April after tensions developed between the pair at the Olympics in August.

Rebecca Adlington and Jo Jackson, meanwhile, will put their friendship aside for four minutes today as the World Championships begin. It has been a monumental year for the pair, Adlington claiming gold in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle in a new world record in Beijing. Jackson was third over eight lengths before breaking Federica Pellegrini's world record in Sheffield in March, with Adlington also dipping under the old world mark. It has since been reclaimed by Pellegrini.

While the countdown to the World Championships has been overshadowed by the furore over performance-enhancing swimsuits, the time to perform has now arrived and the pair will go in the heats of the 400m freestyle this morning. Adlington, 20, is adamant what goes on in the pool has no effect on their friendship and said: "Everyone is wanting us to kind of hate each other and it is just not the case. For me, I want to be friends with Jo for the rest of my life. I don't ever want something that has happened in the pool to affect our friendship."

Jackson, 22, added: "Once we get in the pool we just swim our race and do whatever we have to do. And however we both do we are happy for each other."

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