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Daley excited by London event

11:08 16 April 2014

Tom Daley celebrates with his bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics (pic: British Swimming/Vaughn Ridley/swpix.com)

Tom Daley celebrates with his bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics (pic: British Swimming/Vaughn Ridley/swpix.com)

Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com

Olympic medalist preparing for World Series

Tom Daley now calls London home and the teenager is eager to prove he can keep his head above water in the capital when he returns to the scene of his greatest achievement later this month.

This year has been one of change for Daley, with the 19-year-old uprooting his life in Plymouth and settling in new surroundings in London.

Daley is now working under the tutelage of Zimbabwe-born coach Jane Figueiredo, who heads up British Diving’s new high performance centre at the London Aquatics Centre.

The seismic shift in Daley’s life is eased by the fact that he is no stranger to the London Aquatics Centre, having claimed Olympic 10m platform bronze there two years ago.

The capital will once again play host to the world’s best divers as the third leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series comes to town.

Wrist and tricep injuries hampered Daley’s performances in the first two legs last month but that didn’t stop him from showcasing his talents as he claimed bronze in Beijing followed by a fourth-place in Dubai.

But having fought his way back to full fitness in time for the London leg, Daley is eager to prove he is back to his best just in time to welcome his global rivals to his new home.

“I moved up to London in January and it is one of the best moves I have made,” said Daley, speaking at the launch of the Tom Daley Diving Academy at the London Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this week.

“I feel great, the new coach has been working really well with me and I feel my diving is really fresh and everything is going well.

“It’s great to actually have one of the legs of the FINA Diving World Series come here to London because it will be the first major event held in the pool since the Olympic Games.

“Everyone around the world, the divers anyway, are so excited to come back here and relive the memories.

“I have been pretty pleased with my first two performances in the World Series. I had some injuries leading into those so I wasn’t in the best shape.

“But now I have had a solid run of recovering from those injuries so barring any other disasters I will be good to go next week.

“The home crowd is going to be one of the major factors. I haven’t felt that kind of buzz and atmosphere since the Games so I am looking forward to them spurring me on.”

On top of changing his home and coach this year, Daley is also looking for a regular synchro partner still, following Pete Waterfield’s retirement from diving last July.

Daley has been on the lookout for a replacement – a second place finish in partnership with 17-year-old Daniel Goodfellow in the 3m synchro event at the British Gas National Cup in February evidence of that.

But ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Daley admits the clock is ticking on the defence of the synchro gold he won alongside Max Brick four years ago in Delhi.

“For me the Commonwealth Games is one of the major events on the sporting calendar,” added Daley, who also won the individual 10m platform.

“You’ve got the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships – they are the most important events.

“I will definitely be competing in the individual if all goes to plan, but the syncro is still unknown yet, I may be able to pull a synchro team together or I may not but we will wait and see.

“I might be trying out a few things in training with a couple of people but we will see.”

*Tickets to see the world’s best divers at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series (25-27 April) are still available.

Go to www.swimming.org/finadiving/tickets to get your seat at the London Aquatics Centre.

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