Team England sweetheart Tom Daley came perilously close to retaining his Commonwealth Games title in the men’s 10-metre synchronised platform diving on Friday, putting together a brave performance to claim the silver medal with new partner, James Denny.
The English duo had very little time to prepare for the event, but still managed to come within 0.18 points of success—as BBC Sport’s Nick Hope revealed:
It's Commonwealth silver for Tom Daley & James Denny in synchronised 10m final finishing just 0.18 behind the Australia with total of 399.36— Nick Hope (@NickHopeBBC) August 1, 2014
However, the Australians thoroughly deserved their title, with Dominic Bedggood and Matthew Mitcham posting 399.54 points to knock Daley from his Commonwealth perch.
Diving has been kind to England in Glasgow so far, with three titles going to English names, but Daley and Denny didn’t quite have enough about them to reach the gold medal due to a weak start.
Jack Laugher has won two of those English gold medals, and he was one of many that wished the pair good luck before the event got underway:
However, Daley and Denny failed to show any real cohesion in the opening dives, with Denny over-rotating several times as execution let Team England down throughout—leaving The Times’ Rick Broadbent to have a cheeky dig at the pair:
Tom Daley making a splash. Sadly that's a bad thing in diving.Good news is he's in top four. Bad news is only four in it.#Glasgow2014— rick broadbent (@ricktimes) August 1, 2014
Their performance was summed up on their third dive of the evening, as despite the synchronisation being perfect, the pair’s entry was way below par—as BBC Sport’s Leon Taylor commented upon:
"The synchronisation was all right but then they both emptied the pool. It was a double surfboard moment."
Standing 14 points off the lead and bottom of the leaderboard, England looked down and out, but their final dive saw them produce their best of the competition—nailing four forward somersaults with tuck to earn 95.46 on the leaderboard.
While that raised the bar, the Australians had the answer on the very next dive, getting just enough points to win gold.
Malaysian pair Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei and Canada’s Maxim Bouchard and Vincent Riendeau were the event’s also-rans, though it’s safe to say that they both had their chances to snatch a medal.
However, they couldn’t produce the goods at the right time to catch the event leaders, leaving England and Australia to take to the podium.
It’s not the end of the road for Daley and Denny, though, who will combine once again in the upcoming European Championships.
Getting close to 400 points with limited practice time shows what they’re capable of, and with meticulous European Championship preparation could come a pair of gold medals.