Jack Laugher talks up newfound mental resilience despite losing 3m springboard crown to Dan Goodfellow

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 (PA)
(PA)

It turns out Jack Laugher is fallible after all.

England swept the podium in the men’s 3m springboard, but it was not the one-two-three many had expected as Dan Goodfellow dethroned the defending champion.

Not since Glasgow 2014 had Laugher lost a Commonwealth Games final, having already retained his 1m springboard and synchronised 3m springboard titles in Birmingham.

But after nerves almost cost him a place in the final - scoring zero on his first dive in the morning preliminaries - Laugher had to settle for bronze behind his former synchro partner.

Goodfellow claimed his first individual Commonwealth Games gold ahead of Jordan Houlden as Laugher took encouragement from the way he responded to his earlier wobble.

“It’s been a really weird day, very different to what my usual standard would be,” said the 27-year-old, who also took bronze in the same event at the Tokyo Olympic and the World Championships.

“It was difficult starting off with a failed dive, but I came back, and I reset to make it through to the final. I think I did a really good job of turning it around because I feel like a year and a half ago, before the Olympics that would’ve completely ruined me and sent me into a bit of a spiral.

“I thought today might’ve been a bit of a turnaround, a comeback story, and it kind of is in a way. Going from scraping through and failing my first dive to a bronze medal is a fantastic achievement for me.

“Even though there were some massive negatives, overall, the experience has been extremely positive. It is tough. When you’ve laid those seeds of doubt in your head it can be quite hard. But I’ve been working hard with my psychologist, and I’ve now got things in place that I can do. I went to sleep. I find that really helps to reset everything. To start the day again, and to pretend it’s a brand-new day, a brand-new experience. I think I did a really good job to turn it around.”

Laugher initially managed to navigate the nerves that had plagued his morning session, showing he is not a champion for nothing as he took the halfway lead with a third dive of 86.70.

Goodfellow and Houlden were both breathing down his neck, though, and Laugher left the door wide open with his fifth dive as a score of 53.20 cost him the chance to defend his total. And 25-year-old Goodfellow needed no second invitation, securing his first solo major title with a total of 484.45 points to finished ahead of Houlden (465.15) and Laugher (462.30).

“It’s amazing. I can’t remember the last time there was an England 1-2-3 in diving at the Commonwealth Games,” said Goodfellow.

 (AP)
(AP)

“I branched away from the synchro to the individual, so I’m taking full responsibility for my own diving. Last time at the Commonwealth Games, I won gold in the 10m synchro so it’s a completely different event and completely different board.

“I’ve had a bit of a rough year so to come and perform well under pressure in front of a home crowd, I couldn’t ask for anymore.

“I missed out on individual selection last year because I missed that dive under pressure. But I’ve kept the same list order and there’s not much bigger pressure than doing it for a gold medal in front of a home crowd. It makes me feel better I’ve done that now.”

The night at Sandwell Aquatics Centre finished with further success for England as the hosts took silver and bronze in the women’s synchronised 10m platform final.

Individual 10m platform champion Andrea Spendolini-Siriex and Eden Cheng finished second behind Australia’s Charli Petrov and Mellisa Wu while England teammates Robyn Birch and Emily Martin completed the podium.

Spendolini-Siriex said: “Five out of five medals for the team is incredible. I’m happy to have done it with Eden, I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else.”

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