As far as I can see, the present agitation for shorter races is carried on mostly by men of very little or no experience at all in actual rowing of longer distances. I may say I have rowed four-mile races for years and the same with the shorter distances and I can safely say, from a life-long experience, that it is the shorter distances that do the harm to the men. It is the pace that kills in rowing, as it does in any other athletic activity. The longer the race the slower the stroke and the less strain on the heart and lung; the shorter, the quicker and the greater strain.
The four-mile race is a far safer thing to row for the man's general health and physical fitness than the distance of one mile and five-sixteenths. Heart trouble is generally traced to the shorter races and seldom to the longer races. Had I my way I would have no races under four miles for inter-university contests, as that is the only distance to bring out a true test of oarsmanship.