Commonwealth Games: NZ swimmers into tonight's finals

Three Kiwi swimmers have eased into the finals of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but will have to improve significantly to challenge for medals.

Corey Main cruised into third in his semi-final of the 100m backstroke with a time of 55.02 seconds, slightly slower than his heat time earlier in the day.

He was seventh fastest of the final qualifiers, where Australia's Mitch Larkin looked ominous in lowering his heat time by nearly a second to 53.15 in the semi-final.

Main made the final at last year's world championships in Budapest, finishing eighth in 53.87 seconds.

Earlier, his compatriots Sam Perry and Daniel Hunter both qualified for the men's 50m butterfly final when they came third in their semi-finals with the fifth and sixth fastest times respectively.

Hunter with 23.93 was slightly faster than Perry's 23.99 but the swimmer to beat will be South Africa's Chad le Clos, who won the second heat with a time of 23.53.

The finals will be held on Friday evening.

Bronagh Ryan missed a final spot when she finished eighth in the semis of women's 50m breaststroke in a time of 32.70, slower than her heat time of 32.18.

Helena Gasson and Georgia Marris also missed out on the 100m butterfly final when they finished sixth and eighth in their respective semis.

Dunedin's Carina Doyle failed to progress past the 200m freestyle heats.

In the final event of the night, the New Zealand women's team of Marris, Gasson, Doyle and Laticia Transom could only manage fifth in the women's 4x100m relay in 3 minutes 43.77 seconds, where the winning Australian team set a world record of 3:30.05.