Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow were unable to make more British Olympic diving history as they finished seventh after a tough outing in the Men’s Synchronised 3m Springboard contest at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
The City of Leeds pair were looking to defend the synchro title won by Laugher and then-partner Chris Mears back at Rio 2016, returning to the venue that saw them claim Diving World Cup gold a few months ago.
After the opening two rounds of required dives, the British duo found themselves joint sixth and with ground to make up on their rivals for the podium.
Their list of optionals gets steadily more complex, but they were unable to make a concerted move up the standings with their third and fourth efforts, an Inward 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck (407C) and then a Reverse 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck (307C) which scored them 63.24 and 67.20 points respectively, before scoring 62.70 for their fifth attempt, a Forward 4 ½ Somersaults Tuck (109C).
At the end of a difficult competition, Laugher and Goodfellow - an Olympic medallist in the Men's 10m Synchro from five years ago - showed impressive character to pull out a strong final effort, their 3.9 degree of difficulty Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 3 Twists Pike (5156B) earning an eye-catching 91.26 points.
That moved them up to seventh and a final tally of 382.80, as the synchronised section of the diving programme came to a close.
Speaking of the result, Laugher said: "I actually feel my competition picked up from the first dive as I settled into my rhythm. I felt fine, nervous a little bit but okay – but that’s sport, it’s springboard diving. Springboard is very hit and miss, it's very easy to make small mistakes very quickly, and for Dan and I, it’s our first Olympics together. We wish we could’ve done better, we have had better results this year, but at the end of the day, it’s just sport.
"That final dive was a good one for us, it’s the hardest dive completed in that competition. I’m obviously sad about our other dives, because with one other good one, we’d probably have been right up there next to the medals, because 404 points for a bronze medal is not a great score, really. It just shows how hard it is – the rest of the field had a really tough day, we saw a failed dive in there, we saw a lot of bad dives overall. I wish it could’ve gone better, and as Dan has pointed out, it doesn’t show how good our training has been. That is diving, that is sport."
Goodfellow added: "It’s really difficult after a tough start, because then the judges don’t go with you. The better you dive, the judges seem to reward you as the competition goes along, so if you’re not diving very well, even if you do a bit of a better dive, they almost don’t go with you. Our last dive was by far our best dive, I was happy we could at least finish on a good note.
"The whole competition, I felt really good. I think it just doesn’t show the amount of hard work that we’ve put in – but that is sport sometimes."
Rio 2016 individual silver medallist Laugher will be in action again in the Men’s 3m Springboard preliminaries on Monday 2nd August, along with Edinburgh Diving Club’s James Heatly. The next diving action takes place on Saturday 31st July, when Scarlett Mew Jensen and Grace Reid compete in the Women’s 3m Springboard.
To see the full aquatics schedule for the next 48 hours, check out our rolling 'What's On?' page HERE.