Waterfield was in a medal position until the penultimate round
Peter Waterfield just missed out on winning bronze in the mens 1m springboard on the opening day of the 2009 World Championships.
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist lay in third place until the penultimate round when China's Zhang Xinhua overtook him.
Waterfield nonetheless secured the highest individual place at a World Championships by a British diver.
"If I am honest I didn't think I was going to dive that well," he said.
"It is my first competition since an operation on my shoulder and the Olympics."
There were mixed fortunes for the divers competing in the womens 10m individual.
Tonia Couch finished seventh while Brooke Graddon took 27th place.