Greenwich Academy has gone from a swimming program on the rise to a team on top.

After making their mark last season, the Gators emerged as a dominant force this year, much to the dismay of the opposition.

Saving its best for its last, Greenwich Academy put the finishing touch on an impressive regular season with a Senior Day to remember, swimming past rival Hackley School, 98-42, Wednesday at the YMCA of Greenwich.

With the convincing win, the young Gators raised their record to 7-1 heading into the postseason.

"We could not be more proud of the girls for their performance at this meet and this entire season," said GA senior co-captain Carolyn Kiernan, one of the few upper classmen on the team. "This is a direct result of the hard work we put in and the depth we have."

Looking at her squad's roster, GA First-year head coach Tara Spiess knows even better things are ahead for the team.

"The program has grown exponentially the last couple of years and we have added a lot of depth in all areas," Spiess said. "The girls are committing to the program, which has allowed us to attract more swimmers. We expect next year will be even better for us because we are going to have significant depth for years to come."

Eighth grader Olivia Hallisey is one of the Gators' young stars. Hallisey won the 200-yard freestyle and touched the wall first in the 100 backstroke (1:07.55). Diana Tramontano, also an eighth grader, finished first in the 200 individual medley in a school record time of 2:20.44 for the Gators.

"They are both year-round club swimmers and they have allowed us to add depth to the program," Spiess said. "They are backed up by a lot of other swimmers though. While we have depth in the front, the girls who come in 3-4-5 really make a difference as well."

Junior Kitty Arenz also put her name in the school record book, winning the 50 freestyle in :25.11. Arenz, who also swims throughout the year, had a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle as well (:51.95).

Junior Hannah Goodrick topped the competition in the 100 butterfly (1:07.54) for the Gators, who won two of the three relay events. The quartet of Arenz, Tramontano, Hallisey and Goodrick began the meet by winning the 200 medley relay. Greenwich Academy entered the meet with extra motivation, having lost to Hackley by one point last season.

"Our team came out and was ready to fight for that win," Spiess said. "They remembered that one-point loss last year."

The Gators, who have made the YMCA their home pool, received a second-place finish from freshman Megan Bugniazet in the 100 freestyle and a 2-3 finish from Allie Keigher and Kiernan in the 500 freestyle. Bugniazet, who is in her first season on the team, is the coach's daughter.

"This is the first time I've coached my daughter and it's been wonderful," Spiess said. "During practice, she looks at me as her coach, not her mother."

Harper Robinson placed second in the 100 backstroke, while Bugniazet had a second-place finish in the breaststroke and Eri Sumino finished second in the 200 individual medley for GA, which recognized its seniors in its final dual meet.

"We all swam our hardest for this meet knowing the seniors were leaving next year and it was our last home meet," said GA senior captain Erica Rodriguez, who competed in the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle. "Everyone swims their best when you have someone cheering for you and that's the support we've shown for each other all season."

Said Kiernan: "This program has grown and improved because the coaches have done an amazing job of getting us focused and energized as a team to swim."

Up next for the Gators is the Bud Erich Invitational on Feb. 23, followed by the New England Championships on March 3.

"We are so excited for New Englands, I feel our depth is going to help us out a lot," Kiernan said. "I'm excited to see what we can accomplish at the end of the season.";