Starling and Alicia Blagg were Britain's sole divers in action on day two in Spain with no men's 10m synchro pair competing, taking to the boards for the 1m springboard preliminaries.
Neither managed to finish in the top 12 that advanced to Tuesday's final however Starling did improve on her placing from the last World Championships in Shanghai in 2011.
Placing 25th then, Starling scored 224.75 for 19th just 12.4 points shy of the top 12 while Blagg, who finished sixth with Rebecca Gallantree in the 3m synchro on Saturday, was 34th.
Both have the 3m springboard to come later in the week in Barcelona and Starling insists she cannot wait for that day to come as she seeks a better result in her preferred discipline.
"I am happy after that because I achieved the process goals that my coach wanted me to do," said Starling.
"They are things like pointing my toes at a certain point in the dive and keeping my elbows tight in the entry. All of those things help towards my 3m.
"I focused on the little things which help make up the big picture. 3m is my main event and having had that warm up I now feel in competition-mode ready for those prelims."