And, on Thursday, the reality of a home Olympics will loom large when he competes at London's Aquatics Centre.
"I have learned how to deal with pressure and focus," Daley told BBC Sport.
"It's about compartmentalising my life and knowing which mind-set to be in and when."
ANDY BANKS, TOM DALEY'S COACH
One of the things I did with Tom as a little kid was talk about Peter Pan and the Darling family and how they could fly if they thought happy thoughts. By making him think that way we could get the best out of him - obviously we're a bit past that now and there's a little more psychology in there
Having spent so much of his life in the spotlight, little fazes this teenager, who is open about his prospects for London 2012.
"I wouldn't say that I'm the perfect age for a diver yet, that usually comes between 20 and 24, so I think my actual peak Olympics should be in Rio in 2016," said Daley.
"People do expect, but I don't really see it as pressure because I can only try my best and, if I don't achieve, it's only me that can be disappointed."
Acquiring the mental toughness required to challenge the best in the world did not come easily to Daley at first and has been an on-going process.
"The first time I saw Tom, I had been asked to go over to the pool in Plymouth to look at this kid I was told was quite good," explained Andy Banks, Daley's coach for the last 10 years.
"I sat down, watched him for 20 minutes and at the end I turned around and said to all of the assembled coaches, 'That boy will never make a diver'.
"In my defence, I never saw him get in the pool. What I saw was a little kid sat at the end of the board crying and stubbornly refusing to get on the board to dive off it. That kind of emotion I figured may be a little difficult to control."
GB divers in LMFAO lip sync video tribute
Things were to change and the "pretty awesome" diver, as Banks put it, went on to compete internationally by the age of 12 and
win his first European Championship title
the following year. But some traits remained.
"The emotion which I saw when I first met him stayed with him throughout his early career," said Banks. "When things weren't going right he would get very upset and often either the competition or the training session would go out of the window.
"He recognises that he has that fiery emotion in him and learning to control that is really important, which he has managed to do in recent years."
Another profound change Daley has experienced relates to his physique.
"From a technical point of view, you've got a changing body and a change in dimensions combined with the biomechanical madness which goes on in the sport of diving," said
2004 Olympic silver medallist
"It's been incredible that Tom's been able to stay as well as he has in the rankings."
DALEY'S NEW DIVES IN 2011
Front 4.5 somersault tuck
Back 3.5 somersault pike
Back armstand triple pike
Back 2.5 somersaults, 2.5 twists
And for the world's best divers, look no further than China. To keep up with the ever-improving scores of the world's leading diving nation, Daley introduced four new dives into his routine for 2011, which he attributes to his fifth-place finish at last year's World Championships.
"I raised my degree of difficulty by a lot and it was one of those things where I just had to use them at a World Championships to get the experience before the Olympic Games," Daley said.
"It is difficult to try things out before going into an Olympic year but you have to do it if you want to be up there in the medals."
Although Daley has made it clear that he sees himself working in television after ending his diving career, with his dream job presenting Blue Peter, the teenager's management company were quick to point out that they reject over 90% of media requests for his time.
“He's always been an exceptional person and as he grows and strives for even better things he continues to be an inspiration to many.”
Leon TaylorTom Daley's mentor
"I'm lucky enough to be close to the camp and I know that the dynamics [between Daley and Evangulov] are absolutely fine," Taylor said.
"Tom is completely cool with it. Alexei has said his comments are not how he meant it to come across."
And having deferred some of his A-Level exams until after the summer, to focus full-time on training for the Games, Daley's best prospect of Olympic success could come in the 10m platform synchronised event.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.