Da­ley finds his ideal part­ner in Good­fel­low

Team GB duo ob­tained bronze at World Cup Pair now aim­ing for glory in Rio

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - By Ben Bloom

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.