WEST Fife’s sports personality of the year is ready to cross the pond to make a splash in America and pursue his Olympic dreams.

Swimmer Mark Szaranek (18) revealed his Stateside ambitions after picking up the top honour at the Dunfermline and West Fife Sports Council’s annual sports awards for 2013 last night (Wednesday).

The Carnegie Swimming Club star begins a four year scholarship at the University of Florida in September under the tutelage of Gregg Troy, who has coached 91 Olympians.

And his latest award, presented at the Carnegie Conference Centre, capped a remarkable 12 months for the teenager who competed for Great Britain in the European and world junior championships.

Szaranek currently holds 24 Scottish and two British swim records, he’s British youth champion in the 100m butterfly and picked up numerous national titles in 2013. He pipped Pitreavie middle-distance athlete Aidan Thompson (17), ranked number one in the UK in his age group over two miles, to the sports personality of the year award.

It also ended the reign of dominance of Pitreavie star Eilidh Child, who had won the award for the past six years, as a change in the rules means no-one can win it more than three times.

The ceremony celebrates the best sportsmen and women in West Fife and there were another nine categories at the sports council awards and further success for Carnegie SC.

The Asda St Leonard’s trophy, presented for sporting achievement by youngsters aged 16 and under, was keenly contested with 10 nominees and it was Craig McLean who finished first.

The teenager has been British champ in his age group for the past three years in 100m backstroke and freestyle – he also holds four British and 18 Scottish records and won gold at the UK School Games.

Also nominated were Iona Crawford, Bethany McAndrew, Craig Moriarty and Aimee Scott (all for athletics); Kirsty Marsh (judo); Lauren Pirouet (swimming); Joe Nally (cycling); Jamie Sinclair (karate) and Alison Tate (water polo).

The Rotary Club of Dunfermline junior team of the year award, for under-16s teams, went to Pitreavie AAC’s under-15 girls cross country team.

Leah Davie, Emily Nicholson, Sophie Nethery and Iona Crawford won silver in the East District championships and gold in the Lasswade Open championships.

The East Kilbride Sports Council Award, presented to athletes with a disability, went to Dunfermline’s bowling champ Maria Spencer.

One of the leading visually impaired bowlers, she is the current world champion in the B4 class and in 2013 took gold in the ladies B3 class at the British Indoor championships. She also won gold in the Scottish Disability Sport Open Lawn Bowls Championships and is a member of the national team.

Also nominated were : Billy Allan (bowls); Stefan Hoggan, Craig Rodgie and Lucy Walkup (swimming); Owen Miller (athletics) and Kieran Steer (boccia).

The Benny Hutton team award, for over-16s teams, was won by the Spartans Gymnastic Display team.

They became British Gymnastics’ best trampette and vault team champions – their best result last year.

Charlestown runner and member of Carnegie Harriers, Isobel Burnett, picked up the CDT Centenary Masters Award, for sporting achievement among those 35 and over.

In the F55 category, she was ninth in the London marathon and seventh in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country championships, she also holds records in the Ravenscraig Mile and Edinburgh Parkrun events.

Runner-up was Pitreavie’s Jane MacLeod. One of the new awards, the Active Fife Coach of the Year award, went to Dunfermline Tennis Club’s head coach Alan Russell.

Since taking on the role at the club in 2010, the growth of the tennis programme saw the number of junior members jump from 150 to 250 and, during term-time, he organises 41 different sessions per week.

He was named Tennis Scotland coach of the year for 2013.

Other nominees were : Rhys Davies (school sport); Vikki Fairweather (boxercise); Bill Lindsay (athletics); and John Szaranek (swimming).

The Active Fife Youth Coach of the Year award went to Taryn Neilson for her volunteer work and development as a coach at Aberdour Shinty Club.

The 16-year-old played for the women’s team and also coached every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and most Sundays with the club’s younger teams, as well as running the under-10 side.

The runner-up was Skye Fraser, who organises popular lunchtime netball sessions at Dunfermline High School. There were no outright winners in the Services to Sport and Active Fife Services to School Sport awards, with all nominees being recognised and rewarded.

Receiving awards for Services to Sport were Vonny Burke, from Pitreavie AAC, and Dunfermline Cricket Club duo Nancy Gibson and Lindsay Ferguson.

And accepting Active Fife Services to School Sport awards were June Bouaoun, Douglas Coulston, Fiona McAlonie, Jacqueline Moore, Mary Murphy, Janine Pirouet, Ricky Skelding and Pam Turner.

We will have more reaction from the award winners in next week's Press.