Chris Mears and Nick Robinson-Baker failed to halt China's charge towards a clean sweep of the diving gold medals after they finished fifth in the springboard synchro on Wednesday afternoon.
World champions Qin Kai and Luo Yutong claimed China's fourth gold from as many events at the Aquatics Centre to keep them on track to win all eight events in the diving pool at these Olympics.
Russia's Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov were second with United States duo Kristian Ipsen and veteran Troy Dumais, in his fourth Olympics, third.
Mears and Robinson-Baker had only been an outside hope of a medal, although a career-best second-placing behind the Chinese at the final World Series event in Mexico in April had them dreaming of a podium place.
And while their score on Wednesday of 432.60 was only just shy of the score they posted in Mexico it was not enough as they had to be content with an otherwise impressive performance.
Robinson-Baker was left "buzzing" by the performance before praising the quality of his rivals. "It isn't our PB, but 432 in the final of the Olympics Games, when it's probably been the highest standard it's ever been, was absolutely phenomenal for us. We're buzzing," the 25-year-old said.
The fifth placing was also the equal-best performance by a British synchro pairing - after Mark Shipman and Tony Ally managed the same result at Athens 2004.
"Fifth place. That makes us feel so happy that we are the equal most successful team on the springboard," said Mears. "That's just another thing to add to the excitement."
Mears, 19, will return to the pool later this week in the individual springboard and believes today's display will boost his prospects.
"I've still got the individual in these Olympics so I don't want to look too far into the future just yet," he said. "I'm concentrating on the now, my training has been brilliant and I think I showed that in the pool today."