Yes it works! 12m pool to 1500m openwater
A belated thank you for this advice on breathing. It allowed me to enjoy swimming, and achieve a lifetime goal of an olympic triathlon.
Age 47, and a slow jogger I tried a sprint triathlon for fun even though a 400m pool swim was daunting. With my best "granny breaststroke": head high out of the water, legs thrashing, I made it in 11:30 only stopping once to catch my breath!!
I could bike and run - not fast, but can cover the distance, but to really call myself a triathlete I needed to swim 1500 meters in open water.
A triathlon coach watched me splutter lengths as I tried freestyle, often unable to make 25 meters without grabbing the side to cough, and she could not see that I was doing anything wrong, so very disheartened I came browsing the forums and found this, and realised I was not breathing out correctly then snatching for air as soon as my mouth was clear of the water, resulting in my choking on the air up my nose. Not easy to see for a coach on the pool side.
It took a month of feeling a total fool standing at the end of a hotel pool practicing breathing before swimming a 12m single length, but slowly it worked. One length became 5, 10, 20. When I could swim 800m non stop I tried a local lake that had a 500m course. Even in a wet suit with life guards that was a scary trip.
My big day was 6 months after I'd read this blog. Hyde park, London, the same venue as the 2012 olympics triathlon, and to my amazement I kept to my plan, help back at the start to avoid the "washing machine fight" and steadily concentrated on style. 35 minutes later I was running up the ramp on the way to T1. It still gives me chills remembering it.
Nothing else to add, but take advice, if it doesn't work get different advice, practice the technique and it turns out swimming is something we can all do and enjoy.