For the first time in its 24-year history, the Rottnest Channel Swim will feature a welcome to country ceremony and an all-indigenous team.
A Noongar elder will give a traditional blessing and invite swimmers to join in a smoking ceremony as they gather on Cottesloe beach tomorrow week.
Reconciliation WA chief executive James Back, who will be a solo swimmer on the day, expects it to be an extraordinary moment.
"It's such a high-profile event and I think it's a demonstration of mainstream WA's commitment to reconciliation," he said.
Whadjuk-Noongar custodian Ingrid Cumming told the swimmers at a pre-race briefing at Challenge Stadium that her spiritual ancestors would look after them as they made the crossing, which held a special place in Noongar culture.
"Noongar cosmology says the path from the mainland to Rottnest, or Wadjemup, is a track of our spiritual ancestors," she said.
Adding to the event's indigenous flavour, more than 100 people will swim for the Indigenous Communities Education and Awareness Foundation, founded by former Christ Church Grammar School student Lockie Cooke.