Gayle, on the comeback from injury, scored 227.05 points in Gwangiu.
She finished 17th out of 27 divers, but in a tight competition 234.70 points would have been enough to progress.
The prelims were won by China’s Shuangxue Zheng, who scored 282.85.
Gayle will dive again on Tuesday in the three-metre competition.
Meanwhile, fellow Plymouth diver and University of St Mark and St John student Robyn Birch will be in action on Sunday in the platform event.