Dixon, whose winter preparations were hampered by a broken hand, had qualified for the final at Ponds Forge in second place, just behind Olympic synchro gold medallist Matty Lee.
But in a hard-fought final that saw just 12 points separating five divers going into the final round, Dixon, the 2020 champion, had to settle for bronze behind Olympians Lee and Noah Williams.
Lee produced two massive final dives – one scoring 90.10 points and his final one 101.75 points – to win with a total of 492.25 points, with Williams finishing on 469.00 and Dixon on 455.30.
It was just Dixon’s third (207B) dive that cost him a higher score and a higher placing. All the rest of his efforts scored more than 74 points.
With three Team England spots available, his medal performance should be enough to secure him a place at his third Commonwealth Games later this year.
Dixon also took bronze in the men’s platform synchro competition with fellow Plymothian Euan McCabe. The new partnership finished behind Lee and Williams, who won, and Ben Cutmore and Kyle Kothari, who took silver.
Junior international McCabe, also on the comeback from injury, came 12th in the individual event.
Former Plymouth divers Robyn Birch and Emily Martin won the women’s platform synchro event.