Written by: Noël Daigle

 

First and Only Portable Starting Block For SwimmingAs a member of a family-owned business, there are few things I love more than conversations with people who started their own business from the tiny spark of an idea, fanning the flames from humble beginnings into a global company.

Speaking with Eric Duckering, Founder of PowerStarts was one of those rare conversations, and his passion for his product is evident.

An aerospace engineer, Eric has a deep love for competitive athletics, particularly swimming, and his product shares that love with the world in the form of the PowerStarts Portable Starting Block™, which is the first and only truly portable starting block available for competitive swimming.

This idea for a universal, portable block was born from need, doing racing start clinics for swim teams, where every pools and every block is different.  Many practice pools do not have starting blocks. Others take the starting blocks down unless there is a competition meet. This results in many coaches not having proper materials to allow their swimmers to practice their starts – arguably the most important part for any swimming competitor to master.  In an effort to help his friend, he designed the very first model of his portable starting block.

0422_PowerStarts_SwimmingBlocks1Most starting blocks are hard-mounted into the pool deck and require modifications in order to be used properly, or are not designed to meet FINA standards.

The PowerStarts Block is easy to use and versatile for all pools. To use them, simply fill with water to hold the block in place. Once the Portable Starting Block is filled with water, it weighs almost 400 pounds. This ensures safety and security on any pool deck surface.

Because many coaches, teams, and swimmers don’t have access to easy-to-use swimming blocks, they don’t get the chance to practice their starts. But, as the company’s slogan states, “Races are won and lost at the start…. Learn to win!” Which is exactly what the portable swimming block allows swimmers to do.

The block is ideal for training beginners. It may be reversed to provide a low, 8° sloped surface for starters, before moving up to the full-height competition block as the swimmer advances.   No other starting block system provides this versatility, and most of them also require modifications or more extensive set-up in order to function properly.

What sets PowerStarts apart from their competition? Almost all other starting block systems that you’ll see at universities or Olympics are hard mounted into the pool-deck. The PowerStarts Portable Starting Block remains the most versatile, easy-to-use option that also meets all USA Swimming and FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) dimensional regulations for the standard height and size of the blocks.

The Portable Starting Block is used by individuals, clubs, schools, and teams all over the world, by kids, adults, and serious competitors alike.

“Our blocks have been used in everything from competitions to trial meets for the Wounded Warrior Project for Veterans Olympics.” – Eric Duckering, President of PowerStarts

In speaking about his goals and vision for the company, Eric spoke about the slow growth they’ve experience for the past twenty years since their first order and delivery in 2002. The goal is to continue to grow and provide the Starting Block to a broader swath across the world in increasing numbers, with Eric stating that the company has the capacity to support this growth.

“The very first Starting Block was sold to an individual who attended a swimming clinic that we conducted in 2001. He was going to be heading back to his home country of Lebanon after the clinic. The health club that he worked at in Lebanon did not have any starting blocks for the pool. He saw the portable one we were using and wanted one so his son could practice his starts when swimming.” – Eric Duckering

At this point, they hadn’t even considered selling the product, they’d just designed it for personal use. That interaction sparked the inspiration to improve the design of the starting block into what they have now.

 

PowerStarts & Mold In Graphics Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology

First and Only Portable Starting Block For SwimmingThe very first blocks the company produced did not have any labeling at all. They started using Mold In Graphics System’s Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology because brand image is important to them. When asked how well the labels are holding up, Eric responded “The labels have held up well! Some of the blocks can even be found at a Marine Base in Okinawa, where they have been in use for the past ten years in the high-humidity climate. Eric said, “The only time I’ve ever had to replace blocks was at this particular base, where high humidity is a constant, and they lasted for ten years. The labels on the blocks were still totally fine, even in that moisture-rich, humid climate.”

We are proud to supply Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology to companies like PowerStarts, which began with a simple idea to help a friend, that turned into a product that is really useful for swimmers all over the world. They deserve their unique design, craftsmanship, and specialized engineering to be set apart from their competitors and labeling that help them be known on the world-stage as the leading product for the only truly portable starting blocks for swimmers of all ages and expertise-levels.

Have a great polyolefin-based product that needs permanent branding or labeling guaranteed for life? Contact us today at (928)634-8838.