Oliver Dingley has qualified for tomorrow’s 3m springboard diving semi-final in Rio after a difficult final dive came off spectacularly for the Olympic debutant.
Dingley’s Back 2½ Somersault 1½ Twists from the Pike position scored his highest tally of the night at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, 78.2 points, meaning there will be a proper greening of the water on finals day.
The 23-year-old, passed over by Britain for the London 2012 Olympics in preference for a diver who had finished behind him at the British trials, is the first diver Ireland has had at an Olympic Games since 1948.
Dingley’s progress to the semis was put in some doubt by a poor execution to his fifth and penulitmate attempt, a reverse 2½ somersaults pike, which produced his lowest score of the competition, 48 points.
The Harrogate native had scored in the 60s and 70s consistently with his first four attempts.
However, redemption was on hand in the final round.
After qualifying in 13th, Dingley said: "It was a bit up and down. The weather was an interesting factor today.
"It was really gorgeous before we started but then the wind really picked up.
"I could feel it when I was getting ready for my dives, the board wobbling around, and it definitely affected some of the divers.
"I was lucky to keep my cool. I missed my third round dive and fifth round dive.
"It cut it close for me. My fifth round dive could be a lot better.
"I knew I had to pull it out in the last round. I kept my nerve and it came out well.
"Top 12 go through to the final. Any of these 18 divers can go through.
"For the fifth dive, I had a brilliant take-off, but I thought I was spinning a bit faster than I actually was.
"Then I was in mid-air and realized. There is nothing you can do about it!
"I had to take it landing a bit short. I knew it would be tight going into that last round.
"That's why we do lots of work with psychologists. I knew going into that last round that I was capable not just of doom a good dive, but doing a very good dive, and saving the best one till last."
The semi-finals take place tomorrow at 2pm Irish time, with the final on at 10pm.