Diving: Daley and Waterfield see medal chances evaporate


It takes, as Tom Daley often likes to point out, 1.6 seconds to plunge from the top of the 10m platform into the water and that is how long it took Daley and his partner Pete Waterfield to see their hopes of a medal disappear today.

In gold medal position at the halfway stage of the 10m synchro, the British pair's fourth dive went disastrously wrong. A range of marks between six and eight, as opposed to the nines and above they had been happily gathering, meant they dropped to fourth after four rounds and there they remained, nine painful points and one place off the podium.

The gold went to the immaculate Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang, both younger than Daley, and while challenging the world's outstanding pairing was always likely to prove beyond Daley and Waterfield, failing to claim a medal in front of another rowdy home crowd was a disappointment as deep as the diving pool in the Aquatics Centre. Silver went to the daring Mexican duo of German Sanchez Sanchez [cor!!] and Ivan Garcia Navarro, who pulled of the most technically difficult dive of the afternoon, and bronze to Nicholas McCrory and David Boudia of the US.

After a good season on the world series circuit the British pair had a notable chance of a medal - David Cameron was in the audience and there's a man who can spot a bandwagon a mile off - but it is a sport in which the margin of error is so tight that one dropped dive is more than enough to ruin an otherwise good programme.

For Waterfield, in his fourth Games and a silver medallist in Athens, it is the end of the line. Daley will dive again, this time off the 10m platform on his own in 11 days time. Tomorrow morning he returns to the team's training camp in Southend, a plan agreed ahead of the Games to give him a break from the hype and hubbub that surrounds the Olympic Park.

He has a strong chance of a medal then - again it is likely to be a case of competing for the lesser place on the podium behind China's Qiu Bo - as he has never dived better than in the last few months. But then he and Waterfield had never performed better than this season.

"The last two dives were brilliant but it's just not enough," said Daley. "It started off really well. We got a PB in the first two. The third dive was really good.  It was just our fourth dive. Miss one dive like that and you're gone. It's the way sport goes."

The first three dives, which included two compulsory routines, were not far short of perfect. As they stepped on to the board for the first time a roar swelled from the crowd - the venue was disappointingly once again not full - but instead of raising their nerves it settled them.

"I was more calm than I thought I was going to be," said Waterfield, 13 years Daley's senior, and after that first dive they shared the lead with the 17-year-old Cao and Zhang, a year older. The next two efforts went even better and at the halfway point they had a lead of 2.4points over the Chinese.

Then came the fateful fourth dive, a reverse three and a half somersault tuck. It was not the most difficult in their programme - its rating is 3.3, their fifth dive was 3.7 and the Mexicans most demanding was 4.1.The synchronisation was out and Daley hit the water fractionally ahead of his partner. Both had missed their entries, Waterfield more noticeably so.

"I just kicked my feet a little too high, which means I was over-rotated," said Waterfield. "Once you've kicked and over-rotated, you can't fix it and that left us with too much to do."

Waterfield clambered out of the pool and apologised to his partner; Daley delivered a quick pep talk and although they recovered their poise the damage was done. From first at the start of the round they slipped to fourth, the Mexicans and US taking full advantage.

It made it two out of two in the diving events for China - their aim is to sweep the programme as they did in last year's world championships. The concern for Daley is that brilliant as Cao and Zhang were yesterday - they have never lost an international competition - Bo is better. China's level of performance in the diving pool is frankly awesome.

As for the Britons, there was a hug after their final dive, a quick glance at the scoreboard for conformation they were out of the medals before heading beneath the stands to face the inquisition. "We're a team, end of the day that's it - full stop," said Daley. "We win together, we lose together."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little