Olympic hopefuls swim 'Laps for a Cure' in Christiansburg

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- In each lane at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, you'll find a swimmer working for their dream.

"Make the Olympic team. Represent the United States. That's the only goal," said Lucas Bureau.

Bureau is no stranger to this pool. He swam in it while competing for Virginia Tech, and now, he's training to go back to the Olympic trials, where his journey to Rio ended in 2016.

"That fire was still there, and that was kind of the first experience, and now that I have that experience there, I want to go back and kind of know what I'm doing this time around and really go and perform," he said.

Bureau is training with about a dozen others under Hokies head coach Sergio Lopez Miro.

The group spans at least 10 different countries and includes four past Olympians, like Farida Osman.

"For an Olympic swimmer, like, pretty much swimming is our job," she said.

Osman represented Egypt in the 2012 London games and again in Rio in 2016, where she set an African record for the 100 butterfly.

Her goals for Tokyo are even higher.

"I want to be the first Egyptian ever--or like, Egyptian swimmer to medal in the Olympics," Osman said.

On Thursday, the laps these Olympic hopefuls swam added to a community-wide effort.

Those who couldn't swim themselves could sponsor one of the pros for a goal of 50 miles and $5,000 to support Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

"These people come in and see us and it motivates them to swim so we can get more people swimming, more laps done, more miles complete, and it's all going to a great cause," Bureau said.

The event hits close to home for Christiansburg Councilman Steve Huppert, who lost his wife to cancer eight years ago.

"I think everybody has had somebody in their family affected by [cancer], and I think this is just sort of a fun way to make a little donation and get a little exercise and do something for a good cause," Huppert said.

Swimmers had already reached 34 miles and raised almost $4,000 before 10 a.m., just a few hours into the event.

"We get to do something everyday that we love but, on top of that, we get to do it for people and for a greater cause is such a great feeling," Osman said.