Swim great Cate Campbell to return at low-key meet

Swim great Cate Campbell says she'll dive into uncharted waters when making her comeback to racing at a low-key meet this weekend.

Campbell will race for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as she begins her quest to become the first Australian swimmer to compete at five Olympics.

The 30-year-old has chosen a small Brisbane meet as the scene for her comeback races after pondering her future after the Tokyo Games.

"Considering it's a local Brisbane meet, I am feeling unreasonably nervous," Campbell told AAP on Thursday.

"More because I just have no idea what to expect. I am in completely uncharted territory but you have to start somewhere.

"This is an important first step. I have been back in the pool for about three months now so it will be important to see where I am at and also to see how far I still need to go."

While fellow Olympians and high-profile swimmers including Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus and Kyle Chalmers compete at the NSW championships in Sydney this weekend, Campbell will race the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly at the Brisbane Senior Metropolitan Championships.

The four-time Olympian, whose eight Olympic medals include four gold, travelled for a year after the Tokyo Games before deciding to continue swimming.

Campbell said she was returning mentally refreshed but cognisant of the physical demands.

"I had to work very hard to get my strength and fitness back up - it turns out that I used to be very fit, that swimming is in fact very hard," she said.

"And teaching your body to do five hours of exercise a day again is very challenging when it has been used to swanning around Europe eating baguettes and cheese.

"It has been a little bit of a shock to the system physically.

"But mentally I am feeling the most motivated I have felt in a really long time - motivated and refreshed."

Campbell said while competing at a fifth Olympics was her goal, she realised the enormity of the task.

"To challenge for these Olympics it's not something I have to do - and that was very much part of the decision to come back," she said.

"If this was possible, then I wanted to do it. But if it became clear that it's an impossible dream, I can still walk away and look at my career with satisfaction.

"I want to be better than my best, see where that limit is. I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't willing to give 100 per cent.

"I am not just there to go to my fifth Olympic Games ... I am not there to participate, I am there to compete and hopefully do some very fast racing."

Last month, Campbell returned to the elite Australian swimming program at a national training camp on the Gold Coast.

"It was very surreal because I used to be the 15-year-old challenging the older members of the swim squad," she said.

"And to be an older member being challenged by them now is just wild."