It's true that most elite males breathe to one side only in their races, but many female elites breathe to both sides, using various patterns. It is widely believed, and I think correctly, that breathing to both sides in practice helps to make the stroke more symmetrical, and as you point out it's useful to be able to breathe either side in difficult conditions in open water.
Another year has almost gone by and my plan to enter the sea, which is a few hundred yards from my door has come to naught again. It's getting a bit late now, but the hardy souls who like the sea tell me it's still pleasant enough. Brrrr!