Jack Laugher was happy to come back from a nil score in qualifying to claim bronze in an England one-two-three in the men’s 3m springboard final, and admitted something like that could have “ruined” him in the past .
Laugher, an Olympic silver medalist in this event in Rio six years ago, has been open about his struggles with fear over his performance, scoring nil for his first qualifying round dive on Saturday morning after nerves kicked in on the board.
Dan Goodfellow took gold for England with Jordan Houlden taking silver on Saturday night, and Laugher – who recovered to reach the final as 11th out of 12 qualifiers – was delighted to join them on the podium after a rocky start to the day .
“I feel maybe a year and a half ago before the Olympics that (zero) would have completely ruined me and sent me into some kind of spiral,” he said.
“I thought maybe today would be kind of a big turnaround, a bit of a comeback story and in a way it is.
“While there were some huge negatives, the overall experience was extremely positive. If you’ve put those germs of doubt in your head, it can be quite difficult. But I’ve worked with a psychologist and I now have things in place that I can do.
Laugher, who went to sleep after the morning session to help him “reset”, led halfway through but his fifth dive, a forward four and a half somersault, saw him score just 53.20 and slip off the top.
Goodfellow made his fourth dive – the one with the highest difficulty in his routine – scoring 91.65 on that dive and 484.45 overall.
Goodfellow, who was born in Cambridge but based in the same City of Leeds club as Laugher, said: “I’ve had a tough year and probably a few people have doubted me so to come here and do this…just really pleased.
“To come here and win gold, I wouldn’t trade it.”
Houlden, of the City of Sheffield club, said he was “speechless” after his silver medal.
“I couldn’t be happier with my performance. It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t expect more,” he said.
“The crowd went crazy and I just fed up with the crowd. It was really energetic and I loved it.”