Chemistry key to England's synchro success
Team England’s synchronised 10m platform duo Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow have been a formidable force since they started competing together in 2015.
The pair have been winning medals at meets around the world ever since. The secret to their synchronised success? They both refuse to take the easy option.
“I think it’s the style of diving,” Goodfellow said.
“Me and Tom are the only people that do those sets of dives because they’re a quite high degree of difficulty in the list. I think that’s part of the reason we do so well, because when you execute those big dives you get big rewards.
"I think we dive quite similar and we just get on well as a team – great chemistry.”
They’ve now added Commonwealth Games gold to their list of achievements, but the path to gold wasn't easy for either.
For Daley, a concussion sustained during a dive in March almost derailed his entire Commonwealth Games campaign. Eventually he was cleared, but a persistent hip injury forced him withdraw from the individual 10m platform event at GC2018.
“Up until a couple of days ago, we were about to make the call about whether or not I was going to compete in the individual,” Daley said.
“Then obviously we made that decision to open up the opportunity for one of my other teammates to be able to compete in my place, but the synchro was still touch and go.”
Goodfellow had a similar struggle in 2014 when, after being selected for Glasgow Games, was sidelined by an elbow injury.
While the synchronised 10m platform was Goodfellow's main focus for GC2018 - his long-awaited Commonwealth Games debut - he was more concerned about his diving partner's health than his ability to compete in the event.
“There’s nothing that I can really do that’s going to affect his ability to compete with his injury so I was just training as normal," he said.
“His health and his ability to be able to dive later in the year is more important than risking it for something that could be potentially long term. So I was just training as normal and then if he says yes, then we go. If we don’t, we leave it.”
There was was no plan to replace Daley, had the injury caused him to withdraw from the synchronised team, and Goodfellow could have been left without a partner.
“There wasn’t really a backup plan for me," Goodfellow said.
"I do the 3 metre springboard as well but there’s people already entered into that. I came here for tower synchro and that was the main goal. So for me, I’ve been training and training for this and then as soon as they say ‘you can’t do it’, it becomes a holiday for me.”
The GC2018 gold was Daley's fifth Commonwealth Games medal, but the veteran said the winning feeling never gets old.
“For me, coming away with fourth gold, fifth medal, third Games – very happy overall with the way it’s been going," he said.
"A little bit disappointed not to be in the individual event, but had to make that decision to not further injure myself or put myself in danger.
“Every experience is a good experience – even if it’s bad, because it’s character building at the end of the day.”