Athlete of the Month: Conner Peckinpaugh

By Mark Ambrogi

For Greenwood High School senior swimmer Conner Peckinpaugh, this was a memorable final full meet with his teammates.

Peckinpaugh captured the 500-yard freestyle in 4:47.04 in the sectional Feb. 19 at Franklin Community High School. That helped Greenwood finish third in the team standings. Peckinpaugh will now compete in the state finals Feb. 25-26 at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Peckinpaugh said capping off his senior year with a sectional title was really satisfying.

“I wanted to stay on top of my paces,” he said. “I was a little all over the place. I was focusing on staying consistent and staying fast.”

Peckinpaugh also finished second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.02

“He had a fantastic meet,” Greenwood coach Ray Onisko said. “He’s got another week to go with state meet and, hopefully, he can go a little faster there. His biggest improvement has been the wall with flip turns and breakouts. It’s made a giant difference for him.”

Onisko said the focus is on the preliminaries.

“One of the things we talk about is day by day and race by race,” Onisko said. “It’s all ‘be in the moment, race in the moment’ and we’ll take care of the next moment.”

Peckinpaugh didn’t make it out of state prelims last year.

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Onisko said. “He’s really grown as a swimmer this year.

Onisko said Peckinpaugh now has the opportunity to go back to the state meet and fix any issues that occurred in his appearance last year.

Conner Peckinpaugh gets ready for his sectional race. (Photo courtesy of Scott Peckinpaugh)

Peckinpaugh said he has made the most improvement swimming under water.

“They’ve been a focus this whole season, and I really started to see results toward the end of the season,” he said. “I still think there’s room for improvement within my technique as a whole, but that’s just where I’ve seen the most growth since last year.”

Peckinpaugh is looking to get the full experience in this year’s state finals with fans in the stands

“Last year’s experience was different from other years because of COVID-19 because it was just other swimmers in the stands. This year I get the whole experience of having people there.”

Peckinpaugh said he attributes much of his success this season to his supportive teammates.

“I love every single one of them,” he said. “They really pushed me through it every step of the way.”

Peckinpaugh started swimming competitively with the Greenwood Gators in the 2013-14 season.

“I took swim lessons the summer beforehand because my parents were installing a pool in our backyard,” he said. “I took swim lessons when I was 3, but it was just enough to not drown.

Peckinpaugh said he is not entirely sure whether or not he wants to continue swimming in college. He wants to major in graphic design and works on graphics for the high school newspaper.

In addition to his swimming, he plays in a band called Grenadelia.

“We play mostly rock music,” Peckinpaugh said. “We started rehearsing in January, and we’ve been practicing covering a few songs from Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and other bands like that. We’ve been working on a few originals, and we’re hoping to start doing live performances soon. Our Instagram handle is @_grenadelia.”

Peckinpaugh was the drum major for the Marching Woodmen his final two years. He played trombone in the marching band as a freshman and sophomore. He also plays trombone in concert band and jazz band.

Greenwood coach Ray Onisko (right) congratulates Conner Peckinpaugh Feb. 19 after he won the 500-yard freestyle at the Franklin sectional.


NAME: Conner Peckinpaugh

SCHOOL: Greenwood High School

CLASS: Senior

HEIGHT: 6-foot

AGE: 18

SPORT: Swimming

COLLEGE PLANS: Wants to study graphic design at either Purdue or IUPUI

HOBBIES: Playing guitar, drawing and collecting vinyl records


FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC: Grunge/classic rock

FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Bob’s Burgers”

PARENTS: Scott and Dana Peckinpaugh