Lofgren attended Mariners Elementary School and Ensign Middle School in Newport Beach, California. Esther Lofgren graduated as valedictorian from Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, California, where she had the chance to play volleyball and basketball with fellow 2012 Olympian April Ross before taking up rowing.
Esther began rowing at age 13 at the Newport Aquatic Center, where Olympic Gold Medalist Xeno Muller coached her for a season. Lofgren helped the women’s junior team qualify the eight for the National Youth Invitational for the first time in the program’s history, and performed well enough by her junior and senior years to be recruited by top schools.
Introduced to the sport in 1998, Esther Lofgren continued rowing at Harvard University, where she was twice named a first-team DI All-American, as well as a winner of the Athletic Excellence Award her senior year. She also competed on the U.S. National Rowing Team, making the squad for the first time as a college sophomore, and won two Under-23 and Senior World Championships golds, a silver, and a bronze while still an undergrad. (YH) After college, Esther Lofgren decided to pursue rowing full-time and moved to Princeton, NJ to join the USRowing Training Center.
After her sophomore year in college, Lofgren earned a seat on both the Under-23 and the Senior National Teams, winning and setting the World Record in the BW8+ and taking bronze in the W4- with future Olympic teammate Erin Cafaro. The next year, Lofgren joined future Olympic teammate Genevra Stone to win the BW4x, the only USA women's sculling crew at any level (Junior, Under-23, or Senior) that has won a world championship or Olympic title. Esther took the year off from college to compete for a spot on the Beijing Olympic squad, in 2008, but was instead the last woman cut from the selection camp. Lofgren then stroked the W4- to a silver medal at the 2008 World Rowing Championships. She also stroked the W4- to a silver medal at the 2009 World Rowing Championships, this time with future Olympic teammate Elle Logan.
After graduating from Harvard in 2009, Lofgren joined the USRowing Training Center in Princeton, NJ. She overcame two late-season rib fractures to earn a seat in the 2010 World Championship W8+, which took gold at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand. After another injury-riddled winter, she became the first woman ever, and the first person since 1963, to win two Championship events, the Remenham Challenge Cup (women’s eight) and the Princess Grace Challenge Cup (women’s quadruple sculls), in one regatta at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta. Lofgren then went on to win gold at Lake Bled in Slovenia as part of the 2011 USA World Championship Women’s 8+.
In 2012, Lofgren joined Mary Whipple, Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Amanda Polk, Meghan Musnicki, Taylor Ritzel, Jamie Redman, and Susan Francia to set the World Record in the women’s 8+ in the heats of the Lucerne Rowing World Cup. She then joined Whipple, Davies, Lind, Elle Logan, Musnicki, Ritzel, Francia, and Erin Cafaro to win gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
When she won a gold medal in women’s eight at the 2012 London Games, Lofgren knew her perseverance had paid off. Regarding the win, she said, “It’s been a seven-year journey to make this team and all the hard work was worth it. “
In 2009, Esther Lofgren received Radcliffe Crew’s Athletic Excellence award and was named a D1 First-Team All-American in 2008 and 2009. As a high school student, she was awarded a National Merit Scholarship.
Esther comes from a family of rowers. Her parents, Karl and Christine Lofgren, met in the boathouse at MIT and moved to Long Beach, California in the early 1980s to train for the Olympic rowing team that would compete at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Her parents both fell just short of that dream—including her mother being the last woman cut from selection camp for the Olympic quadruple sculls crew that went on to win gold—but decided to start a family instead. Esther Ruth Lofgren was born the following year.
Esther blogs on her personal blog Harder.Better.Faster.Stronger, where she shares training tips, playlists, and an inside look at life as an elite rower and athlete. She enjoys reading, running, cycling, blogging, and photography and aspires to run a sub-three hour marathon and complete an Ironman triathlon. She also posts information about her upcoming speaking engagements and appearances, as well as photos from her training and work as an athletic model, on her website, http://estherlofgren.com.
Esther is currently based in the Washington, DC, area, where she works as a Marketing and Brand Consultant, and travels frequently for public speaking engagements. She was elected to represent rowing on the USOC’s Athlete Advisory Committee, and has served as the AAC Representative since 2012. She is also involved with the Washington, DC chapter of Athletes Without Limits, a volunteer organization that supports injured veterans pursuing Paralympic or Intellectually Disabled Rowing World Championship aspirations. Lofgren also works continually to expand rowing’s presence through public appearances, speaking engagements, and various forms of social media.