FD, I'm with you on Swim Smooth. However, I don't think SS would criticise EVF. In fact I'd say they advocate it.
It should be fingers first entry, wrist above the fingers and elbow above the wrist, which is what it is in EVF.
If you think about how you 'climb' out of a pool at the side. If you try to raise yourself up with straight arms, levering out of the pool is almost impossible. But if you bend your elbows you can bring the stronger chest and back muscles into play (latismus dorsi and pecs) rather than just the shoulders.
Consequently, it necessarily follows that the stroke must be stronger and therefore lead to quicker times. It will also mean, with regular practice, bigger and stronger lats and pecs and you can help that progression by using weights in the gym.
However, I think there's no substitute to actually swimming and building up that way.
I saw this on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF93rZpczaU and the only criticism I'd make of the swimmer is that once his hand enters the water his wrist appears to drop, which would slow him down. If he keeps his fingers pointing down he go even faster!!