One of the beauties of the Olympic Games is how the athletes on show are not just accompanied by inspiring performances, but moving tales of their rise to the top. Sports and competitors which are barely recognised during a regular calendar year are propelled into the spotlight and along with a freshness and grace deliver an insight into life away from the constant pressure of the public eye.

Australia's multi-disciplined swimmer Cameron McEvoy represents everything the Olympic movement stands for; class, professionalism and respect. World class in the pool, ambitious out of it; he is a total paradox of the premier sports men and women to hail from Down Under. Shane Warne, Nick Kyrgios and Kurtley Beale he is not.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the 22-year-old's main ambition in Rio, after dominating the Australian trials, replacing James Magnussen as the man to watch on the team and qualifying for five events in which each he is favourite for gold, is to join Ian Thorpe and Grand Hackett as the country's number one male Olympic swimmer. The budding astronaut instead wants to meet the physicists that while he is slaving away in the pool, are living his dream.

"Post competition I'm going to go to the GE global research facility set up in Rio," McEvoy told Courier Mail. "A lot of the people I will meet in the facility are pretty much doing jobs in the field I want to be in when I'm older. It's going to be equally as great just to meet and talk to people like that as well. Their history alone interests me, one of the founders of the company was Thomas Edison, he was the inventor of electricity for the consumer which is pretty cool."

Remarkably, while plotting an assault on five Olympic golds McEvoy balances his sporting ambitions with intellectual ones as he studies physics and mathematics at Griffith University in Queensland, hence his nickname the 'professor'. The combination helps keep his dreams in the pool in check, ensuring he never gets too ahead of himself after victories, or too despondent following a defeat: however rare they might be.

Cameron McEvoy
McEvoy will be charged with continuing Australia's great tradition in the pool. Getty Images

It will not have evaded McEvoy's attention that his route towards the blue ribbon gold in the pool at Rio, the 100m freestyle, has been eased by the suspension of Russia's Vladimir Morozov – who has been suspended from the Games after being named in Richard McLaren's Wada-endorsed report into state-sponsored doping. With the world's second fastest man over the distance out of the way, a certain world record of 46.91 seconds - a time from the 'super suit' age - is achievable.

The reality is despite the tangibility of achievements which could see him rival Usain Bolt for Olympic success, McEvoy is unwilling to deal in such extremes. Records and even medals are irrelevant, surprisingly so for a man who was very much the bridesmaid in London. Fourth and fifth place finishes for Australia in the 4x100m and 4x200m relay finals means he returned to the Gold Coast empty handed.

Indeed, Australia's performance four years ago, which saw them scoop just one gold out of the 34 on offer, contributed to the team's worst overall performance at an Olympics for 20 years. McEvoy is among a clutch of old and new athletes bidding to turn the country back into a global superpower, and for a man with ambitions to work for Nasa, expect him to succeed in reaching for the stars this summer.