He was the voice of the pool during Britain’s Olympic swimming successes last summer – and now Ilkeston’s Alan March wants to share his sports commentary skills with you.
The 32-year-old of Park Drive, has been commentating at all of the major events in British swimming since early 2012 – and was even the voice of primetime ITV’s Splash earlier this year.
Now Alan – formerly a worker at the Hovis factory, Watnall – is holding commentary courses around the country to find the voices of Britain’s next big sporting milestones.
“Having 18,500 people cheering because I’ve said ‘another gold for Britain’ was quite a humbling experience,” Alan said of his work as in-house commentator at the pool during the London Olympics and Paralympics.
“The success rate was tremendous and it was just a wonderful, wonderful event.”
We caught up with busy Alan, who has also commentated on his way back from a competition in Eindhoven in The Netherlands.
It all started, he told us, while he was pulling 12-hour shifts baking loaves in 2006 and he answered an advert on Nottingham Forest’s website for a national commentary competition.
“I pulled up with no experience whatsoever and won,” he said.
“I got into it purely by accident.
“But that’s the point I’m trying to get across in my course – you don’t know if you’ve got the latent ability inside you.”
He began as a volunteer commentator for the blind – known as audio description (AD) – progressing into paid work until he had to ‘bite the bullet’ and go full time early last year.
“I went off to commentate on every heat and final of the Olympic and Paralympic swimming competition as the lead in-venue commentator,” he said.
“A great experience, considering I had only been British swimming’s in-venue commentator for two years.
“I also got to witness Michael Phelps become an Olympic legend and will always be able to say I called his last ever race.”
After his work at the Olympics he was asked to voice Splash – a popular reality show featuring medal winner Tom Daley as mentor to celebrity divers, including Eddie the Eagle, Joey Essex and Linda Barker.
But chatting with Alan, you might not recognise his voice from the show – another part of the skills to be learnt from his course, he explained.
“In some way it’s an ability to change the way you sound to fit the event,” he said.
His teaching is based around what he learned while commentating for the blind.
“I firmly believe that some of the skills attributed to that task have stood me well in non-AD commentary,” he said.
“It’s a fun seven-hour, hands-on learning experience. The groups are held for no more than ten people so each student gets the maximum learning time possible.
“I also get the group to critique each other and learn from each other’s brilliance or mistakes.”
He has had warehouse workers, kids just leaving school, full-time workers who want to improve their communication and observation skills, media students and people already in the industry looking for new skills.
To sign up to one of the courses in September or October, find Alan’s contact details at www.alanmarchsport.com.