The Australian Swimming Championships in 2021 are set to follow a similar format to the Tokyo 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 canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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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 before 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 Olympic. There are 37 planned finals in swimming at Tokyo Olympic, 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.
Morning sessions will start at 10.30 am in Tokyo, compared to the Rio 2016 Games where the earliest sessions would begin at 1 pm local time. Tokyo Olympic 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.