Unique Starting Block Demands Industry Attention

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Six years ago, the University of Texas initiated a custom starting block that would house electronic timing equipment for their natatorium. Today, that same starting block, now known as the Kiefer Elite, continues to inspire other swim venues.

In 2003, swim coach Charles Logan hired Adolph Kiefer and Associates, Inc. to design a unique starting block for the University of Texas at Austin. Specializing in custom competitive swim equipment, Kiefer welcomed the request and ultimately installed a unique set of starting blocks that house existing electronic timing equipment. Although pleased with the end product, Coach Logan and Kiefer didn't anticipate the attention the blocks would receive. However, soon after installation aquatic directors and swim coaches started calling Kiefer in search of a similar solution.

Before starting construction on a new aquatic facility, a team from the University of Tennessee traveled the country, visiting natatoriums in search of ideas for their wish list. After completing their tour, the team felt that the starting blocks at the University of Texas most closely resembled their vision. So, they called Kiefer.

According to Gary Wyant, the semi-retired athletic director for the University of Tennessee, "We wanted the very best--something that looked great and performed even better. We weren't willing to settle for something off the shelf. We wanted a unique design that enclosed all the wires and timing equipment that so often is left sprawled across the deck."

After the shiny new set of customized starting blocks were installed at the University of Tennessee, the University of Iowa made their request. Once again, Kiefer got to work designing a similar solution that met the specifications of Iowa's natatorium. Today, plans for installation in additional facilities are underway.

According to Kiefer's Marketing Director, Robin Kiefer, the starting block has been receiving attention on it's own. Kiefer explains, "Until now, this product has not been included in any materials we send out. After receiving numerous inquiries about the block, we decided to give it a name and model number and see how it does." The newly named Kiefer Elite is being introduced to Kiefer's customers this fall in the company's catalog.

The most recognizable feature of the Kiefer Elite starting block is a large, streamlined base that houses the timing equipment connections. Several rotating elliptical plates allow easy access to the interior of the block's base. Not only does this attribute provide a more attractive display, it is also prevents athletes and spectators from tripping on exposed wires and equipment.

As with all Kiefer starting blocks, the Elite is custom fabricated to each pool's unique specifications. According to Kiefer's Product Design Department, the Elite was specifically designed with the end users in mind. Kiefer's product designer Dave Gatz explains, "The backstroke bar can be adjusted both vertically and laterally. The base itself is adjustable to accommodate the anchors. And, unlike dual posted starting blocks, the Elite is easy to remove for storage and reinstall when needed." As a finishing touch, the Elite's stainless steel base and track style top are powder coated with the facility colors. The top can also be customized with the team's logo.

To learn more about the Kiefer Elite starting block, visit http://www.kieferstartingblocks.com or call 1-800-323-4071.

About Adolph Kiefer & Associates:
Gold medalist Olympic swimmer Adolph Kiefer founded Adolph Kiefer & Associates in 1947. As the official aquatics supplier to the 1948 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, the company introduced the first nylon swimsuit as a lightweight alternative to wool and cotton suits and a cost alternative to the silk suits of the time. Since then, Kiefer has provided the swim community with many innovative aquatic performance and safety products including the original Wave Eater racing lane, fully customizable starting blocks, lifeguard equipment and apparel, and a complete line of swimwear and goggles. Today, Mr. Kiefer continues to dedicate his life to helping swimmers of all ages and abilities. The company sponsors a full calendar of competitive swimming events and is a top competitive swim team supplier. For more information about Adolph Kiefer & Associates, visit http://www.kiefer.com.

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Kerry Andersen
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