The 24-year-old Queensland native was ranked 9th in tonight’s heat, and some way ahead of Great Britain’s Tom Daley who was ranked 15th.
“I felt liked I dived pretty scrappily”, Mitcham admitted after the contest.
“That score (457.20 points) was more than 100 points lower than my personal best and the fact I came ninth is just indicative that everybody else has [had] a pretty scrappy prelim too.”
“What I got from the prelims was that it’s been such a long time since I’ve dived with adrenaline and I was over-cooking a lot of my dives, which I wasn’t expecting”, Mitcham said.
“Now that I’ve done that I know I can compensate in the semi-final and hopefully I won’t be having the same problems.”
Mitcham’s Australian teammate, 17-year-old James Connor, scored 427.45 and missed out on a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Tom Daley faced the prospect of a shock exit after he scored as little as three from a judge after a poor back three-and-a-half somersault.
He ended up in 15th place with 448.45 and will fight onto the semi-finals.
Mitcham, one of the few out gay athletes to be competing at the Olympics, has been struggling with an abdominal muscle problem for a while, but after putting it to the test in the run up to the Games, he has said he again feels confident about stepping out onto the diving board:
“I’ve been smashing myself for quite some time now, in a good way, training very hard and putting my abs through very rigorous training and the rest of my body as well. It’s not an issue for me now, mentally or otherwise.”
He also added that the lowest point of his injury problems was the feeling of pressure of being the reigning champion, which prompted a fear of failure and severely hindered him in his preparations.
“If I win gold #London 2012 I will dive off 10m naked to celebrate.”