Brianna and Rachel Holmes Continue Diversity Activism
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Rachel and Brianna Holmes, twin artistic swimmers from the Santa Clara Aquamaids, have once again used their voices to make an impact in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. The pair played a role in “Pool: A Social History of Segregation”, or POOL, a multi-disciplinary museum exhibition exploring the history and impact of segregated swimming in America. The exhibition opened September 3rd in the former Kelly Pool situated within the National Historic Landmark Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia.
The Holmes sisters first became involved in the project about a year ago when Aquamaids head coach Chris Carver approached them to gauge their interest in the project. Given their already demonstrated passion and involvement in diversity activism within artistic swimming, it seemed like the perfect fit. Brianna and Rachel shot several promotional images for the exhibit with Liz Corman and also filmed an underwater video which was displayed on-screen at the exhibit to represent African Americans in the modern aquatic world.
“At the exhibit opening reception, we were able to meet many of the people included in the exhibit including Olympian Maritza Correa McClendon and Sabir Mohammed who both did voiceovers for part of the exhibit. It was amazing getting to meet these amazing athletes in person and learn more about their swimming journeys. The exhibit also included a video projected into the empty historic Kelly Pool which had stories from individuals like Simone Manuel and momentous events in the fight for inclusion in aquatics. That video was really inspiring and enlightening,” Brianna said of her experience visiting the museum.
She plans to take what she’s learned to continue to make an impact: “This experience has reinforced my belief that being able to swim and compete this sport that I love is a privilege and I will do my best to take action and spread awareness to make sure that as many people as possible are able to have access to this amazing sport."
“Artistic swimming specifically has a long way to go to be diverse and inclusive. This is likely due to a lack of access to public pools and artistic swimming teams in communities of color. I have been inspired by the initiatives of the other event attendees and we will continue to participate in DEI events and advocate for diversity within our sport,” Rachel said.
The project was led by creative director and lead designer Victoria Prizzia. To view the magazine version of the exhibit visit the link HERE. To read more about POOL, visit the Fairmount Water Works website HERE. To view the underwater video featuring Brianna and Rachel, click HERE.