Jr Nat’l Champ Mao and Israeli Record Holder Haber Commit to Wisconsin

The Wisconsin men have added in two high-impact recruits to their incoming freshman class. MJ Mao, of Hawaii, and Ido Haber, of Israel, have joined the University of Wisconsin class of 2021.


Mao swims with Sun-shine Aquatics in Hawaii and is a senior at the Maryknoll School. He’s a unique sprinter in that he’s at-once an excellent breaststroker and butterflier, a somewhat rare combination at the NCAA level. Mao is also the 2016 Jr National (West) champion in the 100 breast.

Top Times

  • 50y free – 20.41
  • 100y back – 49.84
  • 100y breast – 53.52
  • 200y breast – 1:58.39
  • 100y fly – 47.13
  • 200y IM – 1:48.73
  • 100m breast – 1:03.27
  • 100m fly – 54.66

Mao is certainly a versatile talent, but will likely be utilized most for his breaststroke and butterfly. His entrance to Wisconsin is very timely– the Badgers just graduated Brett Pinfold and Cannon Clifton, two of their top sprinters, and are in need of more sprint strength.

Mao would’ve been on the brink of the 100 breast A final at the 2017 Big Ten Championships, while he would’ve scored in the B final in the 100 fly and C final in the 200 breast. His breaststroke prowess is especially tantalizing for Wisconsin, as their highest finisher in the 100 breast was 24th and 20th in the 200 breast. He seems capable of a 53-low or 52-high split with where he’s at now, which is about a full second boost over Wisconsin’s 54.00 split at Big Tens this year.


Haber hails from Israel, and holds multiple national records. He’s a mid-distance free specialist, though he can come down to the 100 free and extend through the 800 free as well. Haber is the Israeli record holder in the 400m free long course, and was on the 800 free relay that broke the national record in prelims at the 2016 European Championships, splitting a 1:48.97 with a relay start. The relay went on to finish 8th overall.

Top Times

  • 100m free – 51.22 (44.70 SCY conv.)
  • 200m free – 1:49.53 (1:35.79 SCY conv.)
  • 400m free – 3:51.54 (4:19.42 SCY conv.)
  • 800m free – 8:07.78 (9:06.53 SCY conv.)

With his converted times, he’s right up there with some of the top freestyle American recruits out there. He also looks like a solid bet for Big Ten B finals in both the 200 and 500 freestyle races– for the final day of competition, he’s versatile enough to elect for the 100 free or the 1650 free.

Haber will probably be slapped onto the 800 free relay right away, as all four legs of their NCAA 10th-place relay exhausted their NCAA eligibility at the end of this past season.

Wisconsin class of 2021

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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