British diving prodigy finishes last

Aug. 11, 2008, 11:12 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Britain's 14-year-old diving prodigy Tom Daley got a rough introduction to the Olympics, finishing last with partner Blake Aldridge in the men's 10-meter synchronized on Monday.

"I didn't dive very well as you could probably tell. But it was a great experience," Daley said, still smiling despite the disappointment. "I had so much fun out there and that's all you could ask for, getting the experience of it. And now I've already got some experience looking ahead to 2012, like I've always said."

Daley is already being hyped as one of Britain's top medal hopes for the London Games in four years. He has also been under an intense media spotlight for these games.

"I tried not to make it feel different, but there was lots of pressure on me and I was very nervous," the schoolboy said. "I was really excited with doing it and I just couldn't wait to get out there."

Daley has one more event in these games, the 10-meter individual platform on Aug. 22 and 23.

"I've got a few cobwebs out of the way, so I'm going to go into the individual and try to make up for what I did today," he said. "Now that I know what the Olympic Games is going to feel like I can compete like it's a normal competition."

Daley and Aldridge started well, tying for third after the first round, but the pair fell out of synch on their third dive and dropped out of contention.

Daley was surprised by the media crush awaiting him when he stepped out of the pool.

"I was expecting because we came eighth out of eight that nobody was going to speak to us," he said.

The favored Chinese duo of Lin Yue and Huo Liang won with 468.18 points, while the British pair finished with 408.48.

"Unfortunately I don't have another chance, so I'm a little bit disappointed," said the 26-year-old Aldridge, who did not qualify for the individual competition. "I think Tom's got a good lesson to learn going into his individual. He's lucky he has got another chance and I hope he takes a lot of experience from this.

"It's synchro and both of you have to be on your game at the same time, and that just didn't happen today."

Before the individual event, Daley will get to spend time with his parents, who arrived in China just in time to see him compete.

"I can't wait to see them. I haven't seen them for a couple weeks now," Daley said. "I saw them waiving."

He'll also have time to chat on the Internet with his friends back home in Plymouth, southern England.

"Everyone's been e-mailing me and Facebooking me," he said. "It's been great."