Daley finds his ideal partner in Goodfellow
Team GB duo obtained bronze at World Cup Pair now aiming for glory in Rio
Blake Aldridge, Max Brick, Peter Waterfield, James Denny and now Daniel Goodfellow. Even taking into account his unusually early ascent to the world stage, Tom Daley has had more than his fair share of partners in the synchronised 10m platform event for someone who celebrated his 22nd birthday only a couple of months ago.
He has achieved moderate success along the way – a botched fourth dive with Waterfield at London 2012 left the pair just outside the medals in fourth place, while two Commonwealth Games synchro competitions yielded gold and silver.
But without a regular partner and opting not to contest the event in 2015, for Daley this time last year it looked like any hopes of finally claiming an elusive Olympic synchro title had disappeared forever.
Step forward Goodfellow, the 19year-old hoping to be the solution to Daley’s troublesome synchronised career.
“I had a season and a half out because of nerve problems in my shoulder and I couldn’t even get in the pool,” Goodfellow said. “After I came back from injury there was a pre-season camp last October and the coaches said there was an opportunity for someone to do synchro with Tom if they were able to keep up with him.
“I jumped at it. I’d been out for so long I think it motivated me to take the opportunity more.
“When you have the chance to do synchro with Tom, who is a big icon in the sport, there’s always going to be a bit of pressure but I was just so happy to be given the opportunity.
“We tried it out and it looked really good so we did our first competition at nationals and then we went to the World Cup and came away with a bronze medal at our first international competition together.”
The pair’s subsequent success in such a short period of time has been little short of extraordinary. That World Cup bronze was followed by four successive World Series podium finishes and a European silver in May, putting them firmly in the reckoning for an Olympic medal that would have seemed barely possible at the start of the year.
“Some of the teams have been diving together for 10 years, sometimes more,” said Daley. “We were only put together at the last minute with the thinking that we would see if we could qualify for the Olympics – no harm if we don’t. Then as we started training we realised we were a pretty legitimate pair.”
The pair have left no stone unturned in their quest to perfect the tricky art of appearing in seamless synchronicity while hurtling at more than 30mph into the water.
Goodfellow left his Plymouth home in the run-up to their Rio adventure and moved into Daley’s London apartment to improve the bond between them.
However, the bulk of their time has been spent in the pool. “We want to give ourselves the best opportunity we can to do well in Rio,” said Goodfellow. “We don’t want to look back and think we could have done more together.
“We’ve done six or seven international competitions and got a medal in every one, so statistically you would say we have a very good chance of winning a medal in Rio.”
High hopes: Tom Daley, who partners Daniel Goodfellow, trains in Rio