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You should be using the same swim technique in the open water as you do in the pool. So yes, high elbow for recovery (above water) and for a powerful stroke (underwater). The point of the drills are also to help achieve a better shoulder roll (and body rotation, in turn), as well as keep your recovery close to your body and not swing wide.
Some triathletes will change their stroke in open water to go over the chop or extend wide. You want the same technique in the open water so if it’s hard to apply the same technique in the open water as the pool, you know the magic answer…practice! If the cueing of raising your shoulders helps, keep practicing so hopefully it will be second nature by the time open water season comes around.