Tom Daley will take the first major step towards reclaiming his 10m platform world title when he dives at the World Series in Edinburgh this weekend.
Daley will return to senior international competition for the first time since he won Olympic bronze in an epic final at the London Aquatics Centre eight months ago.
During that time, the 18-year-old has gone “back to basics” as he seeks to find a winning formula ahead of July’s World Championships in Barcelona.
Daley was only narrowly beaten out of gold in London – he led going into the final dive – and has used the winter to deconstruct his dive list in an attempt to squeeze out any extra points he may have left in the pool in London.
He will this weekend reveal a reshuffled dive list for a competition he will be favourite to win in the absence of his major rivals.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend as it will be my first senior international since the Olympics and it will be interesting to see how it goes,” he said, ahead of the three-day meet at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool. “After the Olympics is a time for everyone to break down their dives and go back to basics and that’s what I’ve tried to do. I’ve broken down every single one of my dives and now I’m trying to get them back to a consistent level. It’s all about trying new things this year and I’ll be trying a different order of dives as well this weekend.”
Daley denied that he had changed his list to avoid a repeat of the Olympics, when his rivals were able to surge past him after saving their more difficult dives for last. He explained: “That’s not the reason. The back twister is one of my weaker dives and that was the one that I opened up with at the Olympics. We are changing that up to the end. We are switching things up to see if that affects the way I’m diving. I am trying to spread it [the degree of difficulty] out.
“This is the year where you can play it a bit more tactically for what is going to be best for the next [Olympic] cycle.”
Daley revealed last week that he had lost some of his hunger for diving in the immediate aftermath of the Olympics. He reiterated that yesterday – describing the post-Olympics period as a “crash” – but believes his eight-month break from major competition has re-energised him again. “It’s been tough for all athletes after the Games – you have a crash and you have to build yourself back up again. All I knew was London 2012 and it was hard to see past it,” he said. “But for me now it’s been about breaking my dives down to try to get better and better.”