Australian swimming will return to the Gold Coast for the first time since 2018 ©Getty Images

The Australian Swimming Championships in 2021 are set to follow a similar format to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with finals taking place in the morning.

Scheduled to be hosted from April 14 to 18 in Gold Coast, the event is the planned return of the competition after the 2020 Championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Action will follow the Age Championships, featuring junior swimmers and Para-swimmers, which is slated to run from April 5 to 12.

It is set to be the first national event held in the city since the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials, prior to the Commonwealth Games hosted in Gold Coast that year.

With the addition of morning finals, Olympic hopefuls can replicate the preparation they will need to compete in early races at Tokyo 2020.

There are 37 planned finals in swimming at Tokyo 2020, and all are scheduled for morning sessions to align with the American audience.

This was requested by broadcaster NBC, one of the biggest networks in the United States and currently the rights holders for the Games.

Two-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell could be one of the top names to compete at the Championships next year ©Getty Images
Two-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell could be one of the top names to compete at the Championships next year ©Getty Images

Morning sessions will start at 10.30am in Tokyo, compared to the Rio 2016 Games where the earliest sessions would begin in the afternoon at 1pm local time.

Tokyo 2020 has now been re-arranged for next year as a result of the pandemic.

"We know this has been a tough year for swimmers all around the country with so much uncertainty and opportunities for racing being limited but we hope this announcement will give all athletes around Australia something to work towards and look forward to," said Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell.

The Championships will also act as a selection event for the World Junior Championships and the Oceania Championships.

"We acknowledge that it is still very challenging for our athletes in Victoria with ongoing restrictions in pools," added Russell.

"We will continue to work with Swimming Victoria to ensure that swimmers will not be disadvantaged in qualifying and will be in a position to provide more clarity in the coming weeks."

Currently, Victoria is deemed to be the state in Australia most affected by the virus, with its Parliament shutting today due to a security guard testing positive.