Waterfield (centre) beat Daley and Max Brick
Peter Waterfield, who beat world champion Tom Daley at the British National Championships, has complained about being ignored by the media.
Waterfield won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, but fears he may not make it as far as the 2012 Games.
"I've got a mortgage and two kids to feed and I'm really struggling at the moment and getting in debt," he said.
British Diving's performance director Alexei Evangulov said Waterfield was "a key athlete for the future".
Waterfield, a father-of-two from Southampton, said his lack of profile was making it hard for him to raise the money needed to support his dream of reaching the London Olympics.
"It's nice to have some recognition but after I won at the nationals I didn't even have an interview afterwards," said the 29-year-old.
I'm not going to get as much attention as Tom does, but I'd like to get a bit more recognition so that I can get some sponsorship
Since 2004, when he won a silver with Leon Taylor in the men's 10 metre synchro, Waterfield's career has gone off the boil.
A shoulder injury put him out of the Beijing Olympics, when 15-year-old Daley burst onto the scene, making front page news because of his age.
Since then Daley has been courted by both the press and sponsors willing to fund his training for 2012. He has even reportedly been contacted by Kate Moss about modelling work.
Waterfield has bounced back from his injury and is now showing his top form but he says cuts to his funding have made it hard to support a family and keep alive his hopes of diving at the Olympics.
Waterfield has taken time to return to form after shoulder surgery
In February he won the 10 metre platform title at the National Championships in Sheffield, pushing Daley into second place, but even then the runner-up garnered more attention than Waterfield.
"The media want to print things about Tom all the time, and I know I'm not going to get as much attention as Tom does, but at the end of the day I'd like to get a bit more recognition so that I can get some sponsorship," he added.
Evangulov, who led the Russian team to three silver and two bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics before taking the British post, was supportive of Waterfield.
"We see Peter as a key athlete for the future and he has proved that with his performances this year," he said in a statement.
"Throughout Peter's injury problems, British Diving has continued to ensure the athlete receives significant funding."
Waterfield has been forced to twiddle his thumbs this week as the third leg of the Fina World Series was moved from Sheffield to Mexico, because of the travel problems caused by the Icelandic volcano.
Daley is competing and came fourth in the 10 metre platform final, missing out on a medal by 0.8 points to home favourite German Sanchez.
Waterfield, who will be 31 at the start of the Olympic year, said: "I'm one of the oldest in the world now. It's nice to be competing with the young guys because it does make me feel younger, if not to try and believe that I am younger."