By Mike Gardner | July 12, 2015, 1:06 a.m. (ET)
Samantha Bromberg dives during the women's 10-meter platform semifinals at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games on July 10, 2015 in Toronto.


TORONTO -- Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg finished fifth in the women’s 10-meter platform to lead all U.S. divers on the first day of diving finals Saturday at the CIBC Aquatics Center in Toronto.

For Bromberg, it was not the result she was hoping for, but she made the most of a golden opportunity when she was selected to replace 2008 Olympian Mary Beth Dunnichay two weeks ago.

“Every dive needs improvement, but I think you can find positive in each dive and take that with you on,” Bromberg said. “I wasn’t originally supposed to come here, so I’m just so grateful for every opportunity that I’m getting to experience during these Games.”

Delaney Schnell finished eighth with 263.40 points, while Bromberg scored 337.95 total points. Schnell, 16, was the youngest diver in the medal round and embraced learning from competing against a field of seasoned divers that included several Olympic medalists.

“I was just trying to have fun and keep that in mind I am so much younger than a lot of these girls, but it’s different – hard (being the youngest diver competing),” Schnell said.

“I really enjoyed competing against the older girls because I know that in the Olympics there will be some older people that have more experience than I do. It was great to experience that here beforehand.”

The women will return together in the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform Monday in hopes of winning their first Pan American Games medal.

“We’ve never competed synchro together, so we’re going to work on our timing a bit,” Bromberg said. “I think we’re both ready to have fun and just kill it.”

Paola Espinosa of Mexico won the gold medal with 383.20 points while Canadians Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito captured the silver and bronze medals, respectively, with 377.60 and 357.45 total points.

Also Saturday, Zac Nees finished 11th in the men’s 3-meter springboard with a final round score of 367.70. Rommel Pacheco and Jahir Ocampo of Mexico earned the gold and silver medals with final round scores of 483.35 and 442.15 points, while Canadian Philippe Gagne won the bronze medal with 421.20 total points.

Nees, who was competing at his first major international event was the only U.S. diver in the men’s final round, admitted there was some pressure coming into the event.

“It was actually a lot less pressure than I expected it to be,” Nees said. “I thought about it a lot more before I got to the pool rather than when I was actually here.

“Once I stepped on the board, it just felt like another meet, but all day it was kind of building up inside. This was probably one of my more fun meets, for sure. Even with the crowd and the facilities it was an awesome experience, so I’m happy I experienced it.”

Nees will compete with Cory Bowersox in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard on Monday.