Cameron expected to pull SA out of doldrums
South African swimming sensation Cameron van der Burgh is widely considered as a possible cure to the country's hangover suffered in the pool after the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
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Eight years ago, the "awesome foursome" of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling, surprised everyone when they bettered the world record in the final of the 4x100m freestyle to clinch the gold medal.
Schoeman went on to win a silver medal in the men's 100m freestyle and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.
These swimmers enhanced South Africa's proud tradition in the pool since the country was readmitted to international sport in 1992.
The 2008 Beijing Games, however, proved to be an annus horribilis for SA swimming as the aquatics squad failed to bag a single medal.
Amid reports of tension in the camp, the swimmers managed to break 18 South African records, but had little to show for their efforts.
Van der Burgh, however, emerged as a future star when he became the first African swimmer to dip under the one-minute barrier in the men's 100m breaststroke.
The Pretoria-based swimmer failed to progress beyond the semifinals, finishing fifth and narrowly missing out on a place in the final.
Now 25, Van der Burgh has been South Africa's top swimmer over the last few years, breaking the world short course records in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events in 2008.
Armed with two bronze medals over both distances at last year's Fina World Championships in Shanghai, Van der Burgh is the country's best prospect to break the swimming team's medal drought in the English capital.
He will have to be at his best, however, when he lines up against Olympic record holder Kosuke Kitajima of Japan.
South Africa's rising star, 20-year-old Chad le Clos, has been talked up as another prospective medallist.
While Le Clos has his sights set on the 2016 Games in Rio, his stellar rise in the international swimming ranks has elevated his profile over the last two years.
He won five gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 and another two at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the same season.
Le Clos will compete in the 200m and 400m individual medleys, and the 100m and 200m butterfly events.
He is also expected to be entered in as many as three relay disciplines, which would make him the first SA swimmer to turn out in seven events at the Games.
The youngster will back himself in his favourite event, the 200m butterfly, but will have his work cut out when he faces off against multiple Olympic medallist Michael Phelps from the United States and Japan's Takeshi Matsuda.
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Schoeman is likely to make his last appearance at the quadrennial sporting showpiece.
Schoeman and Darian Townsend, the only two remaining members of the "awesome foursome", will take to the pool on the first day of swimming at the Games in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
While the final relay team has yet to be confirmed, there are great expectations of the quartet to replicate the performance in Athens.
Schoeman will also be in action in the 50m freestyle, the event in which he set a world record of 22.96 seconds in 2005.
Swimming: Men: Jean Basson, Charl Crous, Heerden Herman, Chad le Clos, Gideon Louw, Graham Moore, Sebastien Rousseau, Riaan Schoeman, Roland Schoeman, Leith Shankland, Darian Townsend, Cameron van der Burgh, Darren Murray. Women: Kathryn Meaklim, Karin Prinsloo, Wendy Trott, Suzaan van Biljon, Trudi Maree.
Open water: Troyden Prinsloo, Jess Roux.