Swim free for everyone… leisure and pleasure swimmers, triathletes, families and open water adventurers.  This site helps you to be inspired, find new swimming haunts and  rediscover old favourites.

Whether you are looking for training sites for triathlon, popular beaches or a private unknown place to slip into the water and set your body and mind free, this is the site for you.

Shake off the workaday cares, slip into the sea, lake, river or pool and let the water wash away the chains that bind.  Free your mind and body as you drift into another world, swim out and release those cares and when you have, then return invigorated, calm and strong.

Maureen McCoy

Maureen McCoy is an award winning long distance open water swimmer.  In 2009 just after her fortieth birthday, she fulfilled her childhood ambition to swim the English Channel.

She has competed in many long distance swimming events, winning the Copeland Island to Donaghadee swim in 2005, the 17km Irish Long Distance Championship in 2006 and was a member of the 1st Relay Team to swim Lough Erne, 80 km from Crom Castle to Belleek. She continues to inspire future generations of swimmers as a swim and diving teacher.

Maureen had her account of her English Channel swim published in the Belfast Telegraph and the Newsletter, after which the BBC interviewed her on Newsline about her feat. Her article on the Camlough Team’s North Channel Relay swim in 2010 was published in the Swimming Times and The Belfast Telegraph published a series of her wild swimming articles, all can be viewed here.

Having been swimming in the sea, loughs and rock pools in the Mournes since a small child, Maureen has kept her love of the outdoors and sense of adventure.

Maureen’s Alaskan adventure, the 8.2 mile sea swim around Pennock Island, saw her finish as 2nd “naked” lady (swimsuit as opposed to wet-suit) and she and winner Michelle Macy enjoyed catching up over the “All you can eat” Salmon buffet after the swim.

Paul McCambridge

Paul had a break from swimming for many years until he discovered open water swimming  in 2007, having represented Ulster in his youth. Notable swims include the successful North Channel Relay in 2011, with Team Camlough, Copeland Island Swim 2010.

He has been a photographer for over 30 years, winning many press and editorial awards, covering assignments for national and international newspapers and magazines. Paul has also been awarded the Simon Cumbers Media Award twice for his work on Human Trafficking in South Asia.

The Visual Arts are another aspect of Paul’s work, with photographic and video projects spanning many years. Producing books, educational publications and exhibitions locally and nationally. Venues include; Tate Modern, London, The Lowry Gallery, Salford, The Pump House Museum, Manchester, The Photographers Gallery, London.

Contact Maureen or Paul at



for further info….

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11 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m working in Killyleagh until mid September and looking for folk to swim with locally (ish). Have car, can travel, and need to get in the water! Strangford lough looks amazing but I’ve been warned about currents etc….
    Any top tops?


    • Delyth if you email swim4free@gmail.com with info on when you are free and what type of swimming you do or are interested in, we can certainly see who’s around your area. Have a look at lough Money on here, near Downpatrick…there are other swim site close and we are working to put them up soon. The advice you have been given on Strangford is good advice, it can be very dangerous, but there are safe areas to swim, but get in touch with us…. Cheers Paul

    • Delyth, John McLaughlin from Bangor swimming club runs a swim from Ballyholme Beach on a Monday night -£3.50 a session. It’s really well run with kayak and rib cover. If you are on Facebook look up Eddie Skelly Memorial swim and all the details are there. Wetsuits are compulsory. Another good beach is Ballyhornan – through Downpatrick and on to coast, there’s car parking and easy access to the beach, or Benderg Bay at Killard Point – a good 20 minute walk through the nature reserve to get access to Benderg. Good swimming, Maureen.

  2. Thank you so much for all this wonderful information! I am very glad to have stumbled upon your wonderful blog. I’m very much looking forward to trying out some of these places for swimming!

  3. Just purchased your excellent book this week, and am enjoying leafing through its pages. The inland regions don’t seem to feature as much as the coasts, so perhaps there is a volume 2 in the offing? Certainly there must be lots of readers (and swimmers) out there who would be more than happy to supply you with a few locations in the land-locked counties 😉 For a start, there are buckets of lakes in the midlands, and two fine canals that sometimes get a bad rap but are often popular with locals. Just a thought. Cheers.

  4. Just a quick one to say my wife and I popped up to Lough Ramor as recommended by your book, and had a lovely swim over the weekend. Once you mind the toes on the mussels, it’s a great spot. I swam out to one of the islands and back, though I wasn’t on the back of a tractor 😉 The owner was there, and we showed him our copy of the book. He was delighted. Lovely fella. Are you still working on volume 2?

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